It may come as a surprise to you, but women need to take added precautions when it comes to dental health if they plan on becoming pregnant or are already pregnant. Changes in hormones and the potential effects of poor dental health can cause unintended side effects to both you and your unborn child.
Contact Your Dentist
Most importantly, you should contact your dentist and see when they suggest you schedule an appointment. If you can, schedule an appointment with your dentist before you start your pregnancy to get any procedures or necessary X-rays out of the way. In general, regular dentist visits during pregnancy are relatively safe, though when you schedule appointments be sure to inform your dentist what stage of pregnancy you are in and if you are taking any medications. Routine visits are sometimes suggested due to potential effects of hormonal changes on dental health.
Watch Out for Gum Disease
Due to an increased level of hormones in the bodies of pregnant women, these women are more prone to what is often termed “pregnancy gingivitis.” For this reason, pregnant women should be more aware of their dental habits and check with their dentist to avoid gum disease. Some studies believe that the bacteria resulting from gum disease is linked to preterm births and underweight babies. If you are pregnant and believe you have gum disease, contact a dentist or periodontist immediately.
In Case of Emergency: X-Rays are Okay
Though the safest measure is to avoid X-rays and get dental X-rays done during pregnancy, in case of an emergency or necessity it is generally safe to have a dental X-ray done while pregnant. The American Dental Association confirms this practice is safe in case of dental emergencies. Your dental office should take the proper precautions and cover your abdomen with a leaded apron and (sometimes) your thyroid with a collar to protect from potential radiation.