We asked Frisco Dental Studio about the importance of Dental Visits during Pregnancy and here is what we learned:
Let’s face it, when you are an expecting mom you have a pretty busy schedule. When my wife was pregnant with our daughter, I recall every other week having an OB visit, a specialist visit, or a trip to the chiropractor to help with the sciatica. In the midst of all the appointments and busy schedule, something that slipped our minds completely was my wife’s dental check ups. It didn’t hit us until she started complaining of severe gum pain and bleeding from her gums. I am especially embarrassed by this because as a dentist I know how important dental check ups are for expecting moms. I immediately took her to my office and did a thorough evaluation of her gums and teeth, as I suspected she was going through some severe pregnancy gingivitis.
What’s the fuss about going to the dentist when you are pregnant?
- Pregnancy brings about many changes in hormone levels which affect the physiology of our bodies. A common condition we see in our office is “pregnancy gingivitis”, where gums can be more prone to inflammation and bleeding. Even low levels of plaque (oral bacteria) can stimulate an exaggerated inflammatory response in pregnant patients. Pregnancy gingivitis can be painful, as it was for my wife, and your dental professional can help alleviate the inflammation with regular gum maintenance and cleanings.
- Pregnancy can be hard on your teeth as well. Morning sickness and episodes of vomiting can cause the acid from your stomach to wash over your teeth repeatedly. Acid is what causes teeth to break down and create cavities. We screen all pregnant patients with a radiation-free transillumination camera to catch signs of tooth damage.
- Another trend we see in expecting moms is that their small cavities can get really big very quickly during their pregnancy. One common reason for this is that the hormone changes can lead to dry mouth during pregnancy. Saliva prevents cavities so a dryer mouth means increased likelihood of cavities. Changes in diet can also increase the chances of cavities.
When is a good time to go to the dentist?
Though we can handle dental pain and emergencies during most phases of a pregnancy, the 2nd trimester is the safest period to do any dental check ups and possible treatment. Our OB/GYN colleagues will often send us a clearance letter letting us know of any special protocols or medication restrictions for your visit.
Aren’t dental x-rays harmful to my baby?
Good news is that we now have technology that lets us minimize the need for x-rays on expecting moms. In the past, the only way to look inside a tooth were dental x-rays, they would tell us if there was a cavity or infection in the tooth. In our office, we use a transillumination technology which shines a spectrum of light into teeth to screen for cavities.
Early detection of cavities and cracked teeth allow us to plan with pregnant patients to see if the condition is urgent enough to do treatment during pregnancy or if we can safely postpone until after the pregnancy.
On the off chance we need to take an x-ray on a pregnant patient, modern digital x-rays like the ones we use at our office emit very low radiation. We use lead apron shields as well to ensure maximum safety.
If you or someone you know has specific questions about pregnancy and dental visits, reach out to our team anytime. Dr.Rahman also offers a FREE virtual consult service to help answer your questions.