Dentist's DOs and DON'Ts during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
One of the most overlooked areas of our health is usually our teeth. Since everything in our bodies are connected, our dental health also needs looking after, especially when women are pregnant and/or are breastfeeding. Here are some guidelines for those who are going through a pregnancy or are breastfeeding about dental health.
We asked Dr. Bernardo Trigo Bonnin, a Filipino dentist in Spain. He says that prevention is always the key with your teeth. Try to always practice good oral hygiene and you are cleaning consistently.
The best way to avoid any procedures during pregnancy or breastfeeding really is this. Women should be aware that hormones will impact the way their body functions.
For pregnant women
There are a few things to note for those who are pregnant. There are a few things to be aware of such as pregnancy gingivitis.
Dr. Bonin says that as much as possible, most dentists avoid doing any major procedures to those who are pregnant, just because the body is going through so much already. As much as possible most dentists will advise for a woman to wait until after their pregnancy to do anything that is unnecessary. Though, to break it down per trimester he advises that most often than not, most dentists will only do emergency procedures to those women who are in their first and third trimester.
For those women who are in their second trimester, this is the best time to get a more thorough cleaning, as compared to the other two trimesters. Also if there are underlying conditions to the teeth, because hormones are getting altered through the pregnancy, this is when they tend to flare up.
This is true also for those who are breastfeeding. Be aware that there are still hormones in your body from giving birth and now because of breastfeeding. Caution and awareness is always things to be practiced.
For specific conditions
Some of Dr. Bonin’s advice is about specific procedures. He advises that if a woman who is pregnant or is breastfeeding is feeling uncomfortable, or is in pain more than usual, then they should consult with their dentist and their OB.
- Tooth extractions – this is only in real emergencies. If the scare here is the use of anesthesia, what dentists’ use can usually be metabolized and is only administered in a specific area so it will be unlikely that it will pass to the placenta and thus to the baby.
- Wisdom teeth – Only when absolutely necessary and is truly painful. If it is still bearable, then postpone until after the pregnancy or when you stop breastfeeding.
- X-rays – This may also be a cause for concern as there is more need to be careful when a woman is breastfeeding or pregnant. But with most dentists, before X-raying the patient will be asked to wear a lead lined apron to be able to shield the body from X-rays.
- Teeth whitening – Most dentists will ask both pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding to wait until after to do this procedure.
- Root canal – This would fall under an emergency, especially if it is painful. This procedure can be performed at any stage of the pregnancy, if it is an emergency. If possible though, it would be advised to do this during the second trimester as this is the best time to do this.
Most of the time the first thing that will be prescribed will be antibiotics. Then after this infection goes down, only will be the time to determine if it is necessary to pull out a tooth, or teeth. There may be some pain killers that can be prescribed also but your pregnancy and/or breastfeeding will be taken into account. You must advise your dentist about this, as well as your doctor to be absolutely sure that this is something that you will be needing.
In either of these situations of pregnancy or breastfeeding, the best way to combat any dental problems is consistent prevention. Brush and floss regularly, and try to keep to a consistent oral hygiene routine.
To read more about dental health, CLICK HERE.