Thinking about having a baby? See your dentist first!

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Thinking of having a baby… see your dentist first!


Crazy thought right? Well not really. There is now research being put forward linking poor oral health with fertility issues. One study in The Journal of the American Dental Association found that pregnant women with chronic gum disease were four to seven times more likely to deliver prematurely (before 37 weeks) than those with healthy gums. Women in the group with more severe periodontal disease delivered even earlier (before 32 weeks). So whats the recommendation? Well, it’s to  see your dentist for a full examination and assessment of your gum health BEFORE you and your partner start trying for a little one. Make sure, when you do see your dentist, you tell him/her your plans and that you are trying to become a mum. This is the time to find out if you have any high-risk teeth which may need work doing in the near future. Perhaps, ask if there are any radiographs (X-rays) that could be taken at the appointment.


The other reason, I want all you future mothers to come and see me (other dentists are available) before you fall pregnant is that, pregnant woman can be tricky patients to manage. Realistically, when a pregnant lady sits in my dental chair, I want todo as little treatment as possible. The guidelines suggest that dental treatments such as fillings, extractions and even radiographs are ok in the second trimester, since most of the foetal development occurs in the first trimester. However, I try not to take ANY radiographs at all. Irrespective of which stage of pregnancy you are in. In certain circumstances, we have no choice and some emergency dental treatment needs to be carried out. Most dentists can usually figure out the cause of tooth pain, and treat it without a radiograph (this is not ideal)! Deferring any further treatment until after you have delivered the little one. Lignocaine, which is the numbing agent we use, can pass the placental barrier, but there have been no known negative side effects. Antibiotics such as amoxicillin have been classified as safe to administer.


As for elective treatments such as dental implants, tooth whitening or veneers. Forget about it! Wait nine months and then come back, the treatment can still be done after this time, with no risk to your baby.


During your pregnancy, you will enjoy morning sickness, cravings (interestingly not many of my patients report strange cravings), and you may get pregnancy gingivitis. This is gum disease related to hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy. If you start to notice a lot of bleeding when brushing then come along and see your friendly dentist and get your teeth checked.


I hope this clears up some of the mystique around pregnancy and tooth problems. As always, any further questions please get in touch.


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