Dental Treatment:How Safe during Pregnancy



Question:

I am newly pregnant and I have a painful cavity. Is dental care safe during pregnancy?

Answer:

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that pregnant women eat a balanced diet, brush their teeth thoroughly with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily, floss at least once a day and schedule regular dental visits and periodic professional teeth cleanings.

During pregnancy, avoid elective dental treatment, such as routine dental X-rays and whitening of teeth and bonding, especially during the first trimester. However, if you are experiencing dental pain, emergency treatment and minimal emergency X-rays should be completed immediately with consultation between your dentist and your obstetrician. Local anesthetic and X-rays should be used conservatively, particularly since you are in your first trimester.

It is recommended that adults have a cleaning at least every six months. Keep your regularly scheduled appointment, or make an appointment to see a dentist if you have not been seen for regular checkups. Because it's common for an expecting mom's gum to bleed more easily during pregnancy, you may find it helpful to have your teeth cleaned more frequently than usual.

Surprisingly, most pregnant women do not visit a dentist, even if they have dental problems, according to a study published in the July 2001 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association . This can take a toll on their health as well as the health of their baby, as gum disease has been linked to preterm birth.

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