Dental concerns during Pregnancy
First of all, congratulations on your new adventure into Motherhood. One of the most popular question during pregnancy is whether it is safe to visit dentist?
The reason why many people are concerned about safety of dental treatment during pregnancy has to do with the outdated thinking. In the past, public, even dentists and gynecologists used to taught it wasn’t safe for pregnant women to visit dentist. The mindset has to be changed now!
Yes, it is SAFE!
- Routine dental work is safe during pregnancy with some precautions.
- Certain medications should be avoided in pregnant/lactating women
- Dental X-ray and radiation are safe provided shield is used.
Changes to Oral Cavity during Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, many changes happen to your body, including oral cavity. The increase in hormone level will make gum more susceptible to gingival inflammation, also known as gingivitis or bleeding gum. Thus, it is crucial to keep your regular scaling to maintain your gum health.
The myth is unborn baby sucks the calcium from mother. This is not true. Calcium in the teeth are arranged in stable matrix and unlikely to dissolve like what happened in bone remodeling especially at long bones. Therefore, the truth is dental caries occurs due to changes in diet. For example, increase snacking due to cravings, especially sweet food. Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy may increase the acidity in the mouth too.
Vomiting due to morning sickness can result in acid attack to the teeth. It is advisable not to immediately brush your teeth after vomiting as it will aggregated the erosion. Instead, you should wait for at least 30 minutes or rinse with diluted baking soda to neutralize the acid first.
X-ray during pregnancy
Despite the myth, studies of pregnant patients receiving dental care have affirmed the safety of dental treatment. The FDA, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American College of Radiology have all agreed that dental X-rays is safe for pregnant woman. They release a joint publication in 2017 stating that “when properly done, do not involve any risk to the unborn child”. But if you are uncertain like many new mothers, feel free to consult our dentist for more information about getting dental x-rays while pregnant, before making a decision.
We take necessary precautions when it comes to radiation safety to all patients, not just pregnant women. Lead shield and digital x-ray can help to keep radiation dose as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA principle).
Medications safe in pregnancy / breastfeeding
SAFE During pregnancy
- Local anaesthesia (with or without adrenaline)
- Paracetamol (pain killer)
- Penicillin, amoxicillin, augmentin, cephalosporin, clindamycin, azithromycin and erythromycin (antibiotics)
NOT SAFE During pregnancy
- Opiod (codeine, tramadol)
- NSAID (arcoxia, ibuprofen, mefenamic acid)
- Tetracyline, minocyclin, doxycycline, macrobid, metronidazole, ciprofloxacin, Bactrim (antibiotics)
Most medicine labels have accurate information related to use during lactation. Alternatively, you can find relevant information at this E-Lactation searchable database.
Dental tips for pregnancy
Any stage in pregnancy is safe for dental treatment. However, we recommend second trimester (13-28 weeks) as the best time for regular dental treatment. During the first trimester, you maybe overwhelmed by the great news and battling with morning sickness. On the other hand, pregnant women find it uncomfortable to lie down for prolonged period during treatment due to pressure from tummy. Having said that, if you have an emergency dental issue, do not hesitate to visit your dentist at any point of your pregnancy journey.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women. Oral Health Care During Pregnancy and Through the Lifespan (Number 569). 2013; Reaffirmed 2017. https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2013/08/oral-health-care-during-pregnancy-and-through-the-lifespan. Accessed 16/06/2021.
- [NCRP2013] National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. 2013. Preconception and Prenatal Radiation Exposure Health Effects and Protective Guidance. (2013). Bethesda: National Council on Radiation Protection & Measurements.