Pregnancy Dental Care is Important
Coquitlam Altitude Dental
Pregnancy dental care is important for your health because, while pregnant, your body requires more oral health support due to changing hormones and increased health needs. At Altitude Dental, we are committed to providing you with that support. During pregnancy, there are many different health changes that occur in your body, including changes that can affect your oral health.
Pregnancy and Dental Health
It is important (for you, and your baby) to continue with regular dental hygiene visits during this time because the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can result in a higher risk of gum and bone disease. If you are pregnant, you may not realize that poor oral health can affect your baby’s health too; there is usually a strong correlation between nutrition for the baby (and good birth weight) and your dental health care.
A common side effect of increased hormone levels during your pregnancy is swelling of the gums and bleeding of the gums (even during routine flossing and brushing). Maintaining good oral health during your pregnancy is key to preventing dental issues later.
During your dental exam, x-rays will only be taken if it is absolutely necessary for diagnosis and treatment, and only after thorough discussion between you and Dr. Vaida.
Pregnancy gingivitis occurs as your hormone levels rise (usually after the second month of pregnancy) which increases the gum sensitivity. During this time if dental plaque builds up on the teeth it irritates the gums. Symptoms include red, inflamed and bleeding gums. This issue can start as early as the second month of pregnancy and the condition tends to peak around the eighth month and then improve after the baby is born.
Pregnancy gingivitis can be treated with a professional dental cleaning. This can be done at any time during your pregnancy, but preferably during the second trimester. We recommend at least two dental hygiene visits during your pregnancy – one visit in the second trimester and one in the third trimester.
Pregnancy Granulomas may develop in the second trimester and are red nodules that bleed easily and can form a canker sore or ulcer or crust over. These Granulomas are not dangerous, but they are irritating and sometimes painful. If you have a Granuloma growth, you will likely have a serious case of pregnancy gingivitis (they often appear together). While these growths usually disappear after your baby is born, we recommend that you book an appointment with Dr. Vaida for a dental check-up if they appear.
If you experience severe morning sickness during your pregnancy, you may find that the enamel on the back of the front teeth erodes, and may cause tooth decay, due to frequent vomiting and high acidity in your mouth. Rinse your mouth frequently after being sick and, if you feel that your teeth are being affected (they may feel more sensitive to heat or cold), book an appointment for a dental exam.
Dry Mouth and Excessive Saliva
You may find that you have a dry mouth during your pregnancy. You can combat this by drinking plenty of water and by using sugarless candy or gum to stimulate the saliva system. Less common is excessive saliva. This may occur early during your pregnancy and often disappears by the end of the first trimester.
When is the safest time to visit the dentist while I am pregnant?
The second trimester is the best time for routine pregnancy dental care. During the first trimester, the fetus is still in early development and is highly sensitive to its environment. In the last half of the third trimester, there is some risk of premature delivery because the uterus is sensitive to external influence. It can also be uncomfortable to lie back in the dental chair for long periods of time during the last months of pregnancy and your circulation can be affected. If possible, major dental procedures (such as a root canal) need to be avoided until after the baby is born. If we have to fix a tooth during your pregnancy, then we use a special anesthetic to freeze the area being worked on.
Whether you visit Dr. Vaida or our dental hygienist during your pregnancy, it is important to keep your appointments short and to keep your legs uncrossed during the appointment – this will help your blood circulation (which is important for your health, and your baby's health).
What should I do about emergency dental treatment while pregnant?
Dental work during pregnancy is sometimes required - you may need treatment if it is necessary to ease your pain, prevent infection or decrease stress on you and your fetus. But the best approach is prevention!
What can I do to improve my oral health?
- Brush two to three times per day, for at least two minutes each time.
- Floss every day.
- Use an alcohol free mouth rinse.
- Drink water to help increase your saliva flow and remove the sugars from foods that you eat.
- Eat healthy foods.
- See your dental hygienist every three months to help fight plaque that is forming at a faster rate due to changing hormone levels.
Take the time now to contact Coquitlam’s Altitude Dental to book a dental appointment or a dental hygiene visit during your pregnancy - once your baby is born you are often too busy in those early months to take care of your own oral health. Getting dental work during pregnancy is good for you, and your baby, and it means that you can focus on your baby after birth (but please do schedule an appointment for a check up and cleaning within three to four months after giving birth - your body's changes may increase your need to take extra care of your oral health).
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