Concerns Unique To You
Tell your dentist if you are pregnant. As a precautionary measure, dental treatments
during the first trimester and second half of the third trimester should be avoided
as much as possible. These are critical times in the baby's growth and development
and it's simply wise to avoid exposing the mother to procedures that could in any
way influence the baby's growth and development. However, routine dental care can
be received during the second trimester. All elective dental procedures should be
postponed until after the delivery.
Tell your dentist the names and dosages of all drugs you are taking – including
medications and prenatal vitamins prescribed by your doctor – as well as any specific
medical advice your doctor has given you. Your dentist may need to alter your dental
treatment plan based on this information. Certain drugs -- such as tetracycline
-- can affect the development of your child's teeth and should not be given during
The IDA recommends that you don't skip your dental checkup appointment simply because
you are pregnant. Now more than any other time, regular periodontal (gum) exams
are very important because pregnancy causes hormonal changes that put you at increased
risk for periodontal disease and for tender gums that bleed easily – a condition
called pregnancy gingivitis. Pay particular attention to any changes in your gums
during pregnancy. If tenderness, bleeding or gum swelling occurs at any time during
your pregnancy, talk with your dentist or periodontist as soon as possible.
Oral health problems during Pregnancy
Your mouth can be affected by the hormonal changes you will experience during pregnancy.
For example, some women develop a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” an
inflammation of the gums that can cause swelling and tenderness.
Your gums also may bleed a little when you brush or floss. Left untreated, gingivitis
can lead to more serious forms of gum disease. Your dentist may recommend more frequent
cleanings to prevent this.
Some drugs can be used during and after dental treatment to make you more comfortable.
Inform your dentist of any prescription or over-the-counter drug you are taking.
This will help your dentist determine what type of drug, if any, will be prescribed
for you. Your dentist can consult with your physician to determine the drugs—such
as painkillers or antibiotics—you may safely take during the pregnancy. Discuss
any concerns with your dentist and physician. Both are concerned about you and your
It’s possible you’ll need an X-ray if you suffer a dental emergency or need a dental
problem diagnosed. Although, radiation from dental X-rays is extremely low, your
dentist or hygienist will cover you with a leaded apron that minimizes exposure
to the abdomen. Your dental office will also cover your throat with a leaded thyroid
collar to protect the thyroid from radiation.
In some women, overgrowths of tissue called “pregnancy tumors” appear on the gums,
most often during the second trimester. These non- cancerous growths or swellings
are usually found between the teeth and are believed to be related to excess plaque.
They bleed easily and have a red, raw-looking raspberry- like appearance. They usually
disappear after your baby is born, but if you are concerned, talk to your dentist
about removing them. If you notice pregnancy tumors or any other changes in your
mouth during pregnancy, see your dentist.
Ptylism/Sialorrhea: A relatively rare finding among pregnant women
is excessive secretion of saliva, known as ptyalism or sialorrhea. It usually begins
at two to three weeks of gestation and may abate at the end of the first trimester.
In some instances, it continues until the day of delivery.
Caries: Clinical studies suggest that pregnancy does not contribute
directly to the carious process. It can be attributed to an increase in local cariogenic
factors as pregnancy causes an increase in appetite and often a craving for unusual
foods. If these cravings are for cariogenic foods, then the pregnant woman could
increase her caries risk.
Acid erosion of teeth (perimylolysis): Acid erosion of teeth is
the result of repeated vomiting associated with morning sickness or esophageal reflux.
This erodes the enamel on the back of the front teeth. Women can be instructed to
rinse the mouth with water immediately after vomiting so that stomach acids do not
remain in the mouth.
Tooth mobility: Generalised tooth mobility may also occur in the
pregnant patient. Tooth mobility can be defined as ' the degree of looseness of
a tooth'.This change is probably related to the degree of periodontal disease disturbing
the attachment of the gum and bone to the tooth. This condition usually reverses
Xerostomia: Some pregnant women complain of mouth dryness. Hormonal
alterations associated with pregnancy are a possible explanation. More frequent
consumption of water and sugarless candy and gum may help alleviate this problem.