Absolutely, yes! In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends an oral exam be included in the first prenatal visit and that prenatal caregivers should recommend to their moms-to-be see that they see a dentist during their pregnancy.
Professional teeth cleaning, treatment for any present gum disease, and elimination of any present dental decay will help prevent periodontal disease from developing. Periodontal disease during pregnancy has been found to be associated with a higher risk of early delivery and low birth weight. Increased hormones during pregnancy make gum tissue more susceptible to inflammation.
Jamie J. Alexander, D.D.S. of Boynton Beach recommends his pregnant patients come in for a teeth cleaning and checkup at the beginning of the second trimester. “This has proven to be the safest time for both mother and baby. We can eliminate bacteria and food particles along and under the gum line that cause inflammation,” said Dr. Alexander. “If a dental cavity has started, we may suggest treating the area eliminating decay and bacteria, and restoring the tooth with a filling. If you wait until after delivery, the dental decay can advance and cause more damage to your tooth.” Dr.Alexander is conservative when suggesting dental treatment to pregnant patients. “Ultimately my goal is to keep my patient and unborn child healthy, pain-free, and safe”.
Pregnant women can safely receive local dental anesthetic for treatment. Some pregnant women develop benign inflammatory growths on their gum tissue due to their body’s exaggerated response to gum irritants. These are not cancerous, but they should be evaluated and sometimes treated.
“Digital dental x-rays should be limited during pregnancy to only what is necessary,” said Dr. Alexander, “Fortunately, with dental x-rays there is hardly any exposure to any part of the body except the teeth and jaws. Still, I limit this imaging, if you are pregnant, to only what is absolutely necessary to address an urgent dental problem. I also prefer to postpone lengthy procedures that are purely cosmetic in nature until after delivery, for the comfort of my patients who are pregnant. If you need treatment for dental or gum disease, I will counsel you about treatment and the best step forward for a healthy pregnancy.”
Oral health should be a priority piece of prenatal care. If you are one of our patients, please let us know when you conceive, and we will make sure you are appropriately scheduled. If you are in need of a family-oriented general and cosmetic dentist in the South Palm Beach County, FL area, we will be happy to serve you. Just give us a call at (561) 732-8877