Some women understandably avoid going to the dentist while they are pregnant because they are afraid that exposure to the x-rays, dental care and local anesthetics may pose a risk to their babies.

The purpose of this article is to provide some basic information that may alleviate some of these fears and emphasize the importance of visiting the dentist during pregnancy.

According to the American Dental Association, visiting the dentist during pregnancy is safe and important for the health of the expecting mother and child. Infections or issues resulting from poor dental care may increase the chances of low birth weight or premature birth. The sudden change of hormones during pregnancy may lead to an increased risk of developing periodontal (gum) disease. Additionally, pregnant women who experience morning sickness, resulting in frequent nausea and vomiting, may also be damaging the protective enamel coating surrounding the teeth.

During the visit, x-rays may be necessary and can be done safely with proper protection (shielding the abdomen and thyroid with a lead apron). Along with treatment ranging from routine cleanings to emergency extractions.

What should I know before, during, and after my dental visit?

  1. Make sure to tell your dental team that you are pregnant and how far along you are.
  2. Tell the dentist the names and dosage of all medications/drugs that you are currently taking, including prenatal vitamins prescribed by your primary care provider.
  3. Routine dental work can be done anytime, but best be completed during the 2nd trimester of pregnancy.
  4. Emergency dental procedures should only be completed after a thorough examination, followed by a discussion between the dentist and patient.
  5. After the dental appointment, good oral hygiene should be continued to avoid or reduce possible health issues.

Bottom line: Do not skip your regular dental visit simply because you are pregnant.

The Jane Pauley Community Health Center has 3 dental locations (1 in Madison County and 2 in Marion County). Our dentists are leading experts in dental care, and are currently accepting new patients. For more information about our dental offerings, click here. Call 1-844-MY-JPCHC to schedule an appointment at the location closest to you!