Dentist Visits While Pregnant
Pregnant women are in such a vulnerable stage in their lives that they are expected to take the necessary precautions to make sure that their pregnancy is not undermined in any way by a host of factors. While the value of prenatal visits to an obstetrician is considered a must for all pregnant women, regular dentist visits while pregnant are equally important. This is because there are certain issues in pregnancy that can somehow affect the state of health of the teeth and the other structures of the oral cavity. At the same time, there are certain dental states that can have an impact on the viability and outcome of the pregnancy. It is for this reason that pregnant women are strongly advised to continue visiting their dentists.
Looking at the webpage of any professional organization such as the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, pregnant women are strongly encouraged to seek proper dental care while they are pregnant. This underscores the important relationship between oral health and general health.
A visit to the dentist during the first 3 months of pregnancy will help set the tone for future dental visits throughout the duration of the pregnancy. Ideally, no major dental procedures or treatments should be performed during this critical period since the embryo inside the woman’s womb is at a rapid stage of organ development. This means that all the organs are beginning to develop that the introduction of any substance or factor that may somehow affect the way in which these organs develop might lead to congenital malformations in the unborn child.
During the first trimester, the dentist has the right to know what medications the pregnant woman is taking and this includes vitamins, minerals, and other prenatal supplements that may be prescribed by the woman’s obstetrician. This is important so that the dentist will also be able to advise the expectant mother on what dental procedures can be performed. Generally, only routine dental checkup and cleaning can be performed during this period.
However, if there is a dental emergency such as bleeding gums or lost tooth, the dentist needs to act judiciously. Bleeding gums is a sign that there is a loss in the integrity of the gums. Bacteria present in the mouth can potentially enter through the break in the gums and reach the bloodstream. This can lead to infection and can adversely affect the growing fetus inside the mother’s womb. A visit to the dentist should help address the problem and prevent potential complications to the still-to-be-born child.
Moreover, visiting the dentist during the first 3 months of pregnancy will help the woman better prepare some of the potential oral health issues related to pregnancy. For instance, nausea and vomiting or morning sickness is quite prevalent among pregnant women in the first 3 months. This can lead to tooth erosion because of the acid content of the vomitus. Pregnant women are also prone to bleeding gums which, as already mentioned, can be dangerous since it increases the risk of infection. There are also individuals who may suffer from pregnancy tumors that, while not malignant, can cause discomfort in the woman. Dentists can help manage these concerns so the woman will progress through her pregnancy with fewer problems.
By the second trimester or the 4th to the 6th month of pregnancy, some dental procedures can already be performed. However, this is often based on the clinical judgment of the dentist who has to take into consideration the growing fetus in the womb and the potential implications of performing a certain dental treatment on the continuing viability of the fetus. He must be able to weigh the pros and cons of a dental procedure or treatment in relation to the health status of the fetus. If the pros outweigh the cons, then there’s a good chance that the dental treatment can proceed.
Visiting the dentist during the third trimester of pregnancy is more about preparing the would-be mother on the proper care of her teeth, but most especially on the prevention of oral health problems once the baby is born.
Dentist visits during pregnancy is important for all expectant women. It prepares them in the management of oral health problems in pregnancy while ensuring the health of the growing fetus.