There are many women out there today that are not receiving timely dental care because some dentists are hesitant to treat pregnant patients. However, dental treatment is typically beneficial and there is now a shift towards continuing routine dental care during pregnancy.
You obviously want to make all the right decisions during your pregnancy, and it is normal to question what dental services should be performed when you’re expecting. Dr. Howard Minkoff, the chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, believes that dental X-rays, antibiotics, and local anesthesia are not contraindicated in treatment of pregnant patients. And since 2006, a few state dental organizations have issued guidelines saying that dental care is safe and effective at any stage of pregnancy. This includes diagnostic X-rays, cavity restorations, and root canals.
When pregnant, the risk for gingivitis (gum inflammation) is typically a litter higher. If this is left unchecked, the gum disease can lead to dental infections and even tooth loss. Just as importantly, there is evidence that a mother with active tooth decay can spread the cavity causing bacteria to her child and perpetuate poor oral health.
Finally, we worry that dental pain may cause pregnant women to self-medicate incorrectly. While physicians recommend acetaminophen over ibuprofen for pain control, an overdose of acetaminophen can negatively affect the liver and endanger the fetus.
As the shift towards more routine dental care during pregnancy continues, we understand that patients may still continue to have concerns. When in doubt, or if you have a history of other conditions, we always encourage you to consult your physician. But we believe that maintaining a healthy mouth will help aid in a safe pregnancy for you and your family.
For more questions and answers about your dental concerns, check our FAQ section at www.brownandkupper.com
Lee T. Brown, DDS
Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc