Pregnancy is a unique experience in a woman’s life. The period of gestation filled with mixed emotions like happiness, fear, anxiety and sorrow. In the phase of pregnancy, you have to be very keen on taking care of your health for the sake of your baby’s well-being. Your overall health is extremely important during pregnancy, including oral health. Pregnancy in dentistry might be a fearful thought, but it is not so!
Poor oral hygiene :
Micro-organisms fill the oral cavity. Mouth, being the main source of entry, any harmful bacteria might enter into the systemic circulation. It could affect the fetus if your hygiene is not good.
Poor oral hygiene is found to be associated with,
low birth weight and premature delivery
intrauterine growth restriction
Pregnancy in dentistry – when to visit?
It is better to visit your dentist as soon as possible. Pregnancy in dentistry also needs special care.
The hormonal changes that you go through during pregnancy would be certainly huge. It creates major impact on your gums.
These hormonal changes can easily trigger oral infection and worsen gum health.
Once you become symptomatic, it might end up in bigger complication. It’s better to be proactive than suffering at the end moment.
When to undergo dental treatment during pregnancy?
Preventive dental treatment like teeth cleaning, and annual check-ups can be done during the first trimester itself.
In fact, it is essential to avoid gum infection.
If you have tooth pain during the first trimester, it should not be withheld until the second trimester, and treatment has to be done immediately for the fetus sake.
second trimester ( 4th to 6th month ) would be the best time for pregnancy in dentistry.
In this period, the fetus would have crossed the developmental phase and probably away from risk factors.
Ideally, it is a comfortable period for the fetus and the mother.
Dental works such as cavity filling, crown placement, are safely done during the second trimester and it should be done to reduce the chance of infection.
Generally, this period is not recommended for pregnancy in dentistry, as you might find it difficult to lie down on the dental chair.
Moreover, it would compress the fetus, and you might find difficulty in breathing.
Nevertheless, emergency dental works like root canal treatment and extraction can still be done, if you have severe pain or abscess formation.
Elective procedures like aesthetic correction, bleaching are better to postpone after delivery.
Do not hide your pregnancy just for the sake of treatment:
Be transparent to your dentist:
It is common to get gum disease or tooth pain during gestation. This might pose the risk of periodontal disease ( it is an advanced stage of gum disease ) during pregnancy. Also, If you in the first trimester, practically it is not possible to identify that you are pregnant in the first shot.
You might require an x-ray:
Pregnancy in dentistry certainly requires utmost care and protection for x-rays before proceeding. Even if you are planning pregnancy, it is better to inform your dentist to avoid any adverse effects.
Give your medication details:
List of medicines that you are taking, including multivitamins that have been prescribed by your gynaecologist and other special instructions ( if any ), is better to inform in prior to your dentist. This would help your dentist to plan pregnancy in dentistry without any complications.
Why pregnancy in dentistry is required?
Pregnancy is more of hormonal changes. It has a huge impact on the teeth and gum structure. When it is super-imposed by plaque and calculus deposition, it acts as a synergic effect for the spread of oral infection and gum destruction. Some common dental issues include,
Increased risk of tooth decay:
During the initial phase of pregnancy, you are more prone to morning sickness. This increased gastric reflex increases the acidic secretion of the stomach, and in turn, decreases the PH of the oral cavity. In acidic PH, bacteria have the tendency to grow rapidly and accelerate tooth destruction. When you already have mild to moderate tooth decay, morning sickness would amplify further caries activity.
Additionally, if you prefer to consume more sugary items and sticky foods during this time, increased risk of tooth decay is prominent. It might end up in an emergency situation where you might require emergency root canal treatment or extraction.
Pregnancy gingivitis :
During pregnancy, hormonal changes increase the blood flow to the gum tissue. It causes your gums to be more sensitive, irritable and swollen https://drnandhinikm.wordpress.com/2019/05/27/reasons-for-swollen-gums/. This sensitivity further increases in the presence of plaque and calculus. Pregnancy gingivitis can easily bleed, even while brushing. Sometimes, it can bleed as such without any triggering factor like a toothbrush. Oral prophylaxis followed by proper oral care is needed to keep pregnancy gingivitis under control.
Pregnancy tumour :
It is not cancer, but just a lump of gingival growth during pregnancy. Pregnancy tumour is an inflammatory reaction of the gums due to plaque deposits and bacterial growth. It usually happens at the time of the second trimester, however, it may happen at any time of pregnancy. The red lump glistens, easily bleeds, and can make eating and speaking difficult.
Pregnancy tumour often disappears after the baby’s birth. However, if it hinders your daily activity like eating and speaking, your dentist may choose to remove it. It is a simple excision of tissue growth under local anaesthesia. Its reoccurrence rate is high under the presence of plaque and calculus. If the tumour is not removed, then action should be taken to eradicate the triggering factor like bacterial growth and plaque deposit.
How safe is taking dental x-ray during pregnancy?
Many of you particularly avoid dental visit because of x-ray exposure. Pregnancy in dentistry for x-rays is safer with proper precaution.
Dental x-rays have very minimal radiation than other x-rays, thus making it safer to use.
Your dentist would cover your abdomen with the lead apron in order to protect the fetus from radiation exposure.
The lead collar to protecting the thyroid gland.
Overall, this makes a safer environment for you and your baby while taking x-rays.
However, your dentist would not recommend an x-ray while you are pregnant, until and unless it is really required.
Thus, it is appreciable for pregnancy in dentistry for your’s and your baby’s well-being.