In short yes. That old wives tale that visiting a dentist while pregnant could be harmful to bub and mum-to-be is just that, a wives tale. Despite this, a study by the Australian Dental Association reveals that more than 50 percent of women believe that it’s unsafe to see a dentist while expecting. This number is particularly concerning, as morning sickness and sugar cravings associated with pregnancy can have a long-term impact on your oral health – everything from tooth decay right through to acid wear and gingivitis.
If you’re expecting, then a big congratulations from the team at Gosford Family Dentist. It’s a wonderful time, and we want to assure you that you’re perfectly fine to visit your local dental clinic. To put your mind at ease, we’ve answered some common questions when it comes to visiting the dentist whilst pregnant.
Can I have anesthetic?
Yes, of course. Most local anesthetics can numb the pain, calm your nerves and help you relax. However, anesthetics containing felypressin should be avoided whilst pregnant as this chemical can constrict blood vessels. If you have questions about the type of anesthesia your dentist is using, just ask, they’ll be happy to help. And, when pregnant, your dentist will use the lowest amount of anesthesia required for the procedure.
When booking with your dentist, it’s vital to let them know that you’re pregnant. That way they can select the right type of anesthetic and dosage for you. The aim? Place as little stress on yourself and your baby as possible.
Are dental x-rays safe during pregnancy?
One of the most common fears about visiting the dentist while pregnant is being exposed to harmful radiation from x-rays. However, modern dental x-ray machines emit very low doses of radiation. In fact, you’re more likely to be exposed to more radiation on a domestic flight than a dental x-ray.
Although x-rays are considered safe during pregnancy, most dentists will avoid them during the first trimester if you’re only having a routine checkup. They will also recommend putting treatments such as new orthodontics on hold until after birth, as they often require multiple x-rays before commencement.
Can I get have teeth whitening when pregnant?
Whilst teeth whitening and most other cosmetic dental procedures are safe during pregnancy and will not harm your baby, most dentists will recommend holding off any non-emergency dental treatments until after birth. Procedures such as teeth whitening are often not recommended during the third trimester, as you may find it uncomfortable to lay still for the length of the treatment.
How can I take care of my oral health while I’m pregnant?
- Continue with your regular dental checkups — regular dental checkups can significantly reduce your risk of dental emergencies before they happen.
- Avoid brushing your teeth straight after morning sickness. Being acidic, morning sickness can cause damage to the enamel on your teeth. Instead, rinse your mouth with water and brush after waiting 30 minutes.
- Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste — soft bristles are gentle on swollen gums whilst still effectively removing harmful plaque and bacteria. Fluoridated toothpaste will help strengthen your tooth enamel.
- Maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet — try and limit your sugar intake where possible to reduce the risk of cavities or tooth decay.
Toothy tidbit: Did you know your baby’s teeth start to form before they’re even born? Consuming a healthy diet, with foods high in calcium and vitamins A, C, and D while pregnant helps to build a healthy foundation for your baby’s smile.
Talk to Gosford Family Dentist
If you’re pregnant and in need of a checkup or another dental procedure, contact our friendly team at Gosford Family Dentist. After an initial consultation, our dentists will be able to make the best recommendation for the sake of the overall health of yourself, and your baby. Enquire here.