Should I have dental treatment while pregnant?

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General Dental Care
BDSc (Melb)

It is a natural priority for any mother-to-be to avoid any actions that could put her unborn child at risk. As a mother of a toddler, I can relate to this; I still remember the limitations and trepidation I felt when I realised I was no longer feeding, treating or medicating just my own body but also the body of my growing child.

Three non-essential dental procedures are contraindicated while a patient is pregnant – namely, taking X-rays, using happy gas and removing amalgam fillings. Apart from these contraindications, all other forms of dental surgery can be conducted safely while a patient is pregnant.

Having your teeth cleaned regularly by a dental hygienist is actually very important while pregnant and may need to be done even more frequently to avoid and/or treat pregnancy gingivitis

dental treatment while pregnant

If one of my female patients tells me she is planning to become pregnant, I will encourage her to ensure that all thorough examinations (including X-rays) are up to date and that any outstanding work is completed before the pregnancy; that way, the distinction between safe procedures and contraindicated procedures is not an issue.

I also encourage first time mothers-to-be to have any necessary dental treatment completed, if possible, before the baby is born, as attending a dental appointment with a newborn can be daunting and might therefore be put off, leaving the problem to worsen over time and possibly become more complicated and costly to fix. 

If more complex dental procedures, such as filling or crowns, need to be performed during pregnancy, the ideal timing would be the second trimester, when (hopefully!) any morning sickness has subsided, so that interventions in your mouth can be tolerated, and also before your belly is such that lying in the dentist’s chair for prolonged periods is quite uncomfortable. 

If you are in pain and an oral infection needs to be treated either with root canal or an extraction, the procedure obviously needs to be carried out as soon as possible, before the infection can spread and worsen. Your dentist and/or specialist will most likely need to take an X-ray to diagnose the problem accurately and assist in optimal treatment, and this decision will not be taken lightly. It will be performed only if the gain stands to outweigh the risk, and all care will be taken to protect your unborn child with lead shields. Consultation between your dental practitioner and your obstetrician will take place if any medication needs to be prescribed for your infection.

I hope you find this information helpful, and good luck with your pregnancy and the birth!

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