Dental treatment may be done at any time during pregnancy, but the best time to perform elective dental treatment while pregnant is in the second trimester, or weeks 14 through 20.
In the second trimester the development of the fetal organs is complete and the risk of side effects is lower. Research suggests that women who have fillings, tooth extractions or root canal treatment during the second trimester do not experience higher rates of problems at birth.
If you have oral pain or swelling you may need immediate treatment. If you don’t treat an infection during pregnancy, the consequences could outweigh the possible risks of the medications used during dental treatment.
Preventive dental cleanings and annual exams during pregnancy are regarded as safe and recommended. They are essential to avoid oral infections such as gum disease, which has been linked to pre-term birth.
There are some common causes of dental health problems during pregnancy that can include gum problems, vomiting, cravings for sugary foods and retching while brushing teeth.
Hormones associated with pregnancy will make some women susceptible to gum problems including gingivitis (gum inflammation), undiagnosed or untreated periodontal disease and pregnancy epulis or pyogenic granuloma, a localized enlargement of the gum which can bleed easily.
If you have concerns or questions about dental care during pregnancy, talk to your health care provider.
Todd McAdams, D.D.S.
420 Rocky Knob Lane, Fayetteville, Tenn.