Many times, expectant mothers avoid the dentist, thinking that treatment could be harmful to their unborn babies. In fact, the opposite is true. Though routine oral care is always important, general dentistry is even more essential when you are pregnant. Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy will increase your risk for gum disease. In turn, this condition can have serious consequences for your unborn child. Typically, it is wise to avoid certain dental procedures during these nine months, but there are few treatments that will pose a significant risk to your baby. Dr. DeJesus or one of his team members will evaluate your health and make safe treatment recommendations. To learn more about dental care and pregnancy, contact our Bridgeport practice today.
Pregnancy and Periodontal Health
When you are pregnant, your hormones are in constant flux, and you will produce excess progesterone. This hormone causes oral bacteria to flourish, and it will also heighten your body’s response to these microbes. As a result, plaque and tartar can build up more quickly than normal, increasing your risk for gum disease. In fact, pregnancy gingivitis is a common condition among expectant mothers.
In the early stages of gum disease, the condition will cause mild inflammation and bleeding. At this point, gingivitis is not a threat to your baby’s health. However, it is important to visit the dentist when you notice these symptoms. A routine cleaning can eliminate oral bacteria and prevent gingivitis from getting worse. If the condition goes untreated, however, bacteria can form pockets in your gums. At this point, you could suffer severe discomfort, gum recession, tooth loss, and jawbone degeneration. Even more importantly, gum disease can seriously harm your baby. Multiple studies have linked periodontitis to preeclampsia and premature birth.
Pregnancy and Oral Tumors
During your pregnancy, you may also notice small, red bumps on your gums. Typically, they will also have dark red marks on them, about the size of a pinpoint. They are most likely to appear during your second trimester, especially if you already have pregnancy gingivitis. These growths are known as pregnancy tumors. Despite the alarming sounding name, pregnancy tumors are non-cancerous, and they do not pose a threat to your health. In some cases, however, the growths may make it more difficult to eat. In these instances, your dentist can quickly remove them during a non-invasive procedure. Without surgical removal, pregnancy tumors will usually go away on their own after your baby is born.
Safe Dental Practice When You Are Pregnant
Routine cleanings and exams will not harm your unborn baby. In fact, we may suggest more frequent dental cleanings during pregnancy, especially if you have gingivitis. Typically, however, we will not take x-rays unless absolutely necessary. In addition to the care you receive in our office, you should take extra good care of your teeth at home. Brush at least twice a day, floss at least once, and use mouthwash daily.
If you suffer decay or some other type of dental damage, you can still receive needed treatment. In fact, it is important to eliminate oral bacteria and infection so that the microbes do not travel through your bloodstream and affect your baby. Fillings, root canal therapy, and related treatments are save and non-invasive. We will use effective local anesthesia, though we will generally use as little as possible if you are expecting. Nevertheless, thanks to our experience and precision, you will enjoy minimal discomfort care with no ill effects for your baby.
Protect Your Oral Health, Beautiful Smile, and Baby
Routine dental care is essential during pregnancy. Schedule your exam and cleaning today!