Baby fever has well and truly hit the South West! Many of our lovely patients are pregnant and it can be difficult knowing what you can and cannot do during this time – here are some answers to your frequently asked questions about pregnancy and your smile!
I’m worried about my gums, they’re sore and bleeding more than usual:
It is very common for the gums to become inflamed, with over 40% of women experiencing gingivitis during their pregnancy. Due to changes in hormones the gums are more reactive to any plaque left on the teeth. Continue brushing well with an electric toothbrush, introduce interdental cleaning such as floss, as well as maintaining your usual hygienist appointments. You’ll find that the cleaner the teeth are the less bleeding you’ll experience. Occasionally a red swelling will appear on the gum after the 1st trimester, this is called a pregnancy epulis and will generally resolve after delivery. If you have any concerns at all, please see one of our dentists or hygienists for advice.
Is there any dental treatment I cannot have when pregnant?
Routine dental treatment and healthy mouth reviews are safe during pregnancy. Ideally we want to ensure we detect any disease before it progresses as certain conditions, such as untreated gum disease, can impact birth weight. Although we tend to avoid removing teeth during the 1st and 3rd trimesters these can be carried out in emergencies. Local anaesthetic, straightening teeth and fillings are all perfectly safe. We don’t place amalgam fillings at Evolve so all white fillings are safe to place when pregnant. The only 2 things that cannot be carried out when pregnant or breastfeeding is tooth whitening and sedation.
When is the best time to book in to see the dentist or hygienist?
Usually the first 6 months after giving birth are a bit of a blur for the whole family. Between nappy changes, naps and feeding the last thing you want to do is come to the dentist. Our recommendation is to arrange an appointment for you and dad before the baby is born for your routine checks. This will help ensure good routines and allow us to provide prevention to help keep the family healthy.
I’m struggling with morning sickness and find it difficult to brush in the morning. Any tips?
As long as you brush your teeth in the evening and any other time during the day you will be protecting your teeth. If you find that late morning/early afternoon feels more comfortable then brushing at this time may be best for the time being. Try a smaller head toothbrush (such as a children’s electric brush) as this reduces gagging in most cases. It is important that after any type of sickness you rinse your mouth out with water to remove the excess acid and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth – this will help minimise erosion.
Are x-rays safe during pregnancy?
Dental x-rays are perfectly safe during pregnancy as the beam is not in the direction of the foetus and the dose is very low. However, if expectant mums are concerned about having x-rays during pregnancy we have lead vests available and can delay your routine x-rays until after the birth. Certain dental emergencies may however need x-rays for effective diagnosis and treatment.
I’ve heard that you can lose teeth when pregnant as the baby takes calcium from your bones and teeth.
Luckily this is just an old wives tale and it’s possible to come out of pregnancy with all your teeth intact! A lot of pregnant women experience serious sugar cravings, that alongside difficulty brushing due to morning sickness is often the reason for decay or cavities developing. Ideally, avoid sugary snacks, maintaining your routine appointments and brushing will help you keep all your gorgeous smiles!