1. How does pregnancy affect the dental hygiene of a woman?
There is a direct correlation between pregnancy and dental hygiene. The hormonal changes happening in the body increases the susceptibility towards gum problems ( gingivitis/pyorrhoea). In fact there is evidence of aggravation of pre-existing gum conditions during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are also more prone to decay. As a result of morning sickness, there is more presence of acid in the mouth, which weakens the enamel making them vulnerable to decay.
2. How often do you need a dental checkup during pregnancy?
It is important to get a dental check up as soon as you conceive and follow it up with another during the second trimester. As a matter of fact, it should be a part of routine along with all other regular checks.
3. What are the common dental problems specific to pregnancy?
Most common problem faced is of bleeding of gums during brushing and flossing. Many women also complain of redness, tenderness and swelling in the gums. In few circumstances, women also report with shifting of teeth or mobility in their teeth. It is important to visit your dentist as soon as any of the above symptoms are noticed.
4. Are there any changes that you recommend should be incorporated in your dental hygiene during pregnancy?
Apart from your regular brushing and flossing routine twice a day, it is recommended to use fluoride mouth rinses. These rinses can be used after brushing daily at night.
For women experiencing severe morning sickness, they can use tooth crèmes that help strengthen enamel and protects the teeth from decay and erosion.
5. What dental procedures are unsafe during pregnancy?
All regular procedures such as fillings, cleaning and RCT’s are safe during pregnancy. Usage of local anesthesia is safe for the mother and the child. But the same should be used only when necessary.
Ideal time for getting dental treatment done is during the second trimester.
Incase of any surgical procedure, the same can be discussed with your dentist before proceeding. Elective or non-essential surgical procedures should be postponed till after delivery.
7. Is it safe to get a dental x-ray during pregnancy?
Dental X-rays have very minor radiation dose and safe during pregnancy. Routine X-rays should be avoided, but can be carried out for diagnosis or during treatment, if necessary. For the safety of your baby, the dentist will be using a lead apron and thyroid collar during the x-ray.
8. How does a dental disease affect an unborn baby?
There is a direct correlation between periodontal (gum) disease and premature and low-birth weight infants. Research shows that the bacteria that cause gum disease can get into the blood flow and potentially harm the fetus.
Thus, maintaining adequate dental hygiene during pregnancy becomes highly essential.
9. Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe during pregnancy?
It is advisable not to get amalgam restorations done because of the presence of mercury in amalgam fillings and the subsequent risk of mercury toxicity. Alternatives like resin based, tooth colored filling materials are ideal in such situations.