Dental Work While Pregnant: What You Should Know

When you’re pregnant, you have to worry about so many things. On the forefront of your mind is safety of the baby, and safety for your own health, during your pregnancy. One of the most common questions expectant mothers have is whether it is safe to visit the dentist during pregnancy.

Routine Dental Work

You should definitely still do your routine dental exams and cleanings every six months. These exams are very safe, and are actually highly recommended. When you’re pregnant, your hormone levels rise and that increase can sometimes cause your gums to swell, and that leads to increased irritation. It is vitally important to reduce the chance of that irritation leading to an infection. As a matter of fact, gum disease and oral infections have been linked to premature birth.


X-rays are usually a routine part of a routine exam, but what should you do during pregnancy? These images can usually wait until after you give birth, but they might be needed in a dental emergency. The radiation dose for a typical single dental x-ray is extremely low and has been determined to have no adverse effect on a developing fetus. With proper shielding, you and the baby will be just fine.

More Extensive Dental Work

What if you have a bigger dental problem or even an emergency while you’re pregnant. Is that type of dental work safe?

Always look at the necessity of the dental work. If it is just cosmetic work, like teeth whitening, it can wait until after you give birth. However, if you have a cavity or loose crown that needs repair, leaving it untreated increases your risk of infection. Dentists recommend that any dental problem that has led or may lead to infection should be repaired. It is safe. The main consideration is for it to be ideally done during the second trimester, if at all possible. It is very difficult to recline on your back during the third trimester for long periods of time, so it may prove to be too uncomfortable for you.

Dental Medications

Sometimes, an emergency procedure involving medications must be done. For procedures like a root canal or tooth extraction, lidocaine is the anesthetic most commonly used. This drug does cross the placenta when administered. Discuss concerns with the dentist. They will administer the minimum amount possible to make you comfortable during the procedure, and if you’re comfortable, your stress level and the baby’s stress level are both reduced.

Before your visit, let your dentist know you are pregnant, and they’ll take the proper precautions to take good care of you and your baby.

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