Posted by Dr. William Yoo
Pregnancy makes expectant mothers more sensitive to all kinds of risk, because of valid concerns about the development of the foetus. Indeed, you need to be cautious about what you consume and expose yourself to. Things such as alcohol, smoking and some medications should be avoided.
Does this mean that you should postpone all dental work until post-delivery?
No. In fact, dental professionals recommend that expectant mothers maintain their usual dental cleanings and annual exams. They are not only safe for the developing fetus, but also critical during the pregnancy because the higher hormone levels make your mouth more vulnerable to swelling gums, bleeding and bacterial buildup that may accelerate tooth decay and irritate the gums. Preventive dental work during pregnancy is particularly important to reduce the risk of oral infections like gum disease, which has been linked to pre-term birth.
What about procedures that require X-rays and anaesthesia?
Restorative dental procedures such as crowns and composite resin fillings for cracked or broken teeth should be treated promptly to prevent infection. However, any lengthy dental procedures should ideally be done in the first or second trimester, as you may find it very difficult to stay still on your back for extended periods when you reach the third trimester.
When faced with emergency dental situations in the third trimester, such as those that require tooth removal or a root canal, you will have to endure the discomfort of sitting in the dentist’s chair. But the treatment itself does not cause any harm to you or the baby. Here’s why:
What dental treatments should be postponed?
Expectant mothers should try to avoid exposing the developing foetus to any risks, so any dental procedures that do not directly address pain or discomfort, such as those involving elective or cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening, should be done after delivery.