Dental Care During Pregnancy

More babies are born in the United States in the summer than any other season of the year. That is definitely true at FLOSS Lakewood where Dr. Zarchi and our Office Manager, Jessica, are both expecting babies later this summer. We knew they would be the perfect people to talk with concerning oral health during pregnancy.

Can pregnant women see the dentist?

One question that many pregnant women often have is if they should wait until after the baby is born to see the dentist. Dr. Zarchi says that it is important for women to regularly see the dentist for routine exams and cleanings even when pregnant. She said, “Changes in hormones can make a patient who is pregnant more susceptible to changes in the mouth and require monitoring. Lack of proper dental health has also been linked to preterm birth.”

Are x-rays and dental procedures safe for pregnant women?

Other concerns that many pregnant patients often express are about dental x-rays and dental procedures. Jessica says, “At FLOSS, all precautions are taken. For X-rays, the patient is double shielded. Safe anesthetics without epinephrine that don’t cross the placenta, such as Mepivacaine HCL 3%, are used for dental procedures.”

Many women who are expecting experience changes in their mouth during their pregnancy. Dr. Zarchi has noticed that she has more tartar build-up during this pregnancy, but this is common. She said, “With hormones changing and fluctuating, increased risk of plaque and tartar build-up may occur leading to gingivitis and possible periodontitis. In a small percentage of cases, a reactive lesion called a pyogenic granuloma may also occur. If any changes or discomfort occur in the mouth, it is best to see your dentist.”

When’s the best time during the pregnancy to see the dentist?

Many patients think it would be safer to wait until the baby is born to have dental procedures such as fillings and crowns. Dr. Zarchi says that is not true. “Ideally, the best time to have treatment done is in the second trimester. Even though the risks associated with treatment are low, the first trimester is a fragile time as the baby is still developing. During the third trimester, the patient may get uncomfortable lying in the dental chair for extended periods of time.”

How do I let my dentist know that I am pregnant?

It is important for pregnant patients to let the office know that they are pregnant when they book their appointment. FLOSS requires patients who are expecting to have a medical release from their OB-GYN. The staff at FLOSS can contact your OB for the release, but Jessica encourages pregnant patients to request it when they visit their OB-GYN during a routine check-up. The release can be faxed directly to your FLOSS location and scanned to your file. Jessica said, “There is so much to think about when you are pregnant. Taking care of this during your check-up with your OB eliminates having to take care of this at the last minute. It also alerts us that there has been a change to your health so we can take great care of you during your visit.”

Shouldn’t I just wait until after the baby is born to schedule my dentist appointment?

Dr. Zarchi and Jessica both encourage pregnant patients to see the dentist and not put it off until after the baby is born. Since this is the 2nd pregnancy for both of them, they know how busy it is to have a newborn at home. Dr. Zarchi said “There is no need to be fearful of seeing a dentist during your pregnancy. It is healthy for you and for your baby.”