It is very important that women continue dental care through their pregnancy. Hormones that are present during pregnancy and nursing affect the oral mucosa and the mucosa becomes sensitized to irritants such as bacteria. This can result in an overgrowth of the gumline, a condition we call pregnancy hyperplasia. In extreme cases, the gumline becomes purple/red and can grow right over the teeth. Many women experience bleeding along the gumline during pregnancy and this can be an early warning that hyperplasia may be developing. Dental cleanings can be done at anytime without any risk to the mother or fetus and are important to prevent hyperplasia. Should a problem be diagnosed requiring treatment, the middle trimester is the safest time to have it done.
Here are our guidelines:
- Cleanings – anytime and stay on schedule.
- Fluoride toothpaste (regular, Stop, or 3M Clinpro 5000) – continue as prescribed
- X-rays – only as necessary for needed treatment or emergency and use a lead shield. Never for preventative / diagnostic care.
- N2O2 (nitrous oxide) – never
- Fillings, root canals, simple surgical procedures – during the middle trimester.
- Local anesthetic – middle trimester
Paul D. Amble, DDS