Taking care of our teeth is always important. It’s best to see a dentist at least twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings. For women planning pregnancy, it’s important to be up to date on dental care. There’s a clear association between periodontal disease and an increased risk of preterm birth. Having clean, healthy teeth is good for women but also good for their pregnancies.
Pregnancy is nine months long. Most women skip their routine dental exam, assuming it’s best to do after they deliver. Here are some basic guidelines for dental care in pregnancy:
- You should go
Regular cleanings and check up are important to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Pregnancy—with all it’s diet and hormone changes—increases a woman’s risk of dental problems and your dentist can help keep you healthy.
- You should tell your dentist that you are pregnant
This information will affect whether or not they need Xrays and may limit certain medications they use.
- You should go back
If your dentist says you should go back for follow up, you should follow their advise.
- Dental problems should be taken care of
Cavities, infections, and other dental issues can safely be taken care of in pregnancy. Many of the anesthetics, rinses and antibiotics that dentists use are safe in pregnancy. It’s important that your dentist knows your pregnant so they can make sure they’re choosing the safest treatment options for you.
- Xrays can usually be done in pregnancy if needed
Dental Xrays aim for the teeth, far away from a developing fetus. However, we recommend avoiding them if they can be safely delayed until after pregnancy. If a dentist does need Xrays, then the pregnant abdomen should be double-shielded.
- Healthy teeth and gums are associated with healthier pregnancies
It’s best to bring this up with your OBGYN early in your pregnancy. Our office has a standard letter we send with patients to their dentist letting the dentist know what medication and anesthetics are safe in pregnancy. This can make the dental appointment go much more smoothly.
Of course, when in doubt, best to discuss it with your OBGYN and your dentist.
El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems. Drs. Amy Teng, Erika Balassiano, and Pooja Gupta, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecgologic Surgery. Dr. Erika Balassiano is also completed a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.
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