Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Routine Dental Treatment is Safe and Important for Pregnant Women

Two things seem to keep women from seeing their dentist during pregnancy: fear of local anesthetics and a fear of X-rays. Pregnant women have often worried about the risks of lidocaine shots and other numbing agents to their unborn children, so they'll put off getting a filling, having a root canal, or even a routine checkup while they're pregnant, subjecting themselves to undue pain and discomfort.

In actuality, local anesthetics and x-rays are safe for mom and baby, according to 2015 published research by The Journal of the American Dental Association.

The word seems to be getting out, as the number of pregnant women in the U.S. visiting their dentist has increased 5.5 percent over the last year, according to a survey released this spring from Delta Dental Plans Association. The survey indicates that 63 percent of mothers visited the dentist during pregnancy in 2016. That's up from 57.5 percent in 2015. 1,307 parents among a nationally represented group participated in the survey conducted between December 16, 2015 to January 14, 2016.

It's important for expectant mothers to continue to see their dentist during pregnancy for checkups because the physical changes caused by pregnancy can result in changes in the gums and teeth. Pregnancy gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, can occur in some women during pregnancy, which could leave to even worse gum disease.

In order to uncover and diagnose dental emergencies and discomfort, dental x-rays are often necessary. For most pregnant women, these X-rays are safe because there is barely any exposure to any part of the body except the teeth. During the x-ray, the dentist or hygienist will properly shield a woman's abdomen with a protective apron to lessen the exposure.

It's important for women not to avoid their dental checkups and cleanings just because they are pregnant. Routine dental visits are safe during pregnancy for most women. Women who are pregnant should talk to their dentist and let him or her know that they are expecting, and at what stage.

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