I’m Pregnant, Is It Safe To See My Seattle Family Dentist?
Yes! As a matter of fact the American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics all encourage women to see their family dentist while pregnant. “It is a critical time in a woman’s life and maintaining oral health is directly related to good overall health of both the mother and the baby,” says Amanda Guerrero, DDS.
Pregnancy places women at a higher risk for some oral conditions, such as tooth erosion and periodontal disease. Surprisingly, various studies suggest that only about one-quarter to one-half of women in the United States receive any dental care, including prophylaxis (regular cleanings), during their pregnancies.
When Do I tell My Dentist I’m Pregnant?
Even if you only think you might be pregnant, let your Seattle family dentist know. Tell them how far along you are when you make your appointment. Also, let your dentist know about the medications you are taking or if you have received any special advice from your physician. If your pregnancy is high-risk or if you have certain medical conditions, your dentist and your physician may recommend that some treatments be postponed.
Can I Get Dental X-Rays While Pregnant?
Yes! Studies show that the fetal dosage levels of radiation, even without lead shielding, were <1% of the annual dose limit for a member of the public. The exposure-induced risk for the pregnant patient and the exposure-induced risk for the fetus are minimal, and therefore, need for fetal and patient lead shielding is considered irrelevant. But don’t worry, we still use the lead vests for peace of mind! Most important is that pregnancy is never a reason to avoid or to postpone a clinically justified dental radiographic examination.
What about dental anesthetics? And dental treatment?
Both are safe! Studies show that women exposed to dental anesthetics for the purpose of dental treatment (including root canals, extractions, and fillings) display no difference in the rate of miscarriages, gestational age at delivery, or birth weight. There is no evidence relating early spontaneous miscarriage to first trimester oral health care or dental procedures.
In the past, dentists have postponed treatment during pregnancy because of uncertainty about the risk of radiographs and bacteremia that can occur with dental cleanings. However, deferring appropriate treatment may cause harm to the woman and possibly to the fetus for several reasons. First, women may self-medicate with potentially unsafe, over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin, to control pain.
Second, untreated dental caries in mothers increases the risk of her children developing caries (cavities).
Finally, untreated oral infection may become a systemic problem during pregnancy.
Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oral diseases, including needed dental x-rays and use of local anesthesia, are highly beneficial and can be undertaken with no additional fetal or maternal risk when compared to not providing care. Check out next week’s blog where Amanda Guerrero, DDS will answer more questions about the changes to expect in your mouth during pregnancy and tips for morning sickness!
Be sure to contact your Seattle Family Dentist with any questions and don’t forget to schedule your dental appointment! LeCuyer & Amato Dentistry 206-626-5400.