Gingivitis, Periodontitis and Low Birth-Weight Complications
Pregnancy gingivitis untreated can become periodontitis which causes bone destruction. These conditions are harmful to both the pregnant mother and the unborn child. Gum disease is linked to heart disease and diabetes along with a multitude of inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis. Gum disease is also linked to Low Birth-Weight. Low Birth-Weight is linked to premature death of the child, extended hospital stays, and many chronic health complications which are emotionally and financially devastating to the family.
Dental Treatment During Pregnancy
Most dental treatment can be safely completed during pregnancy. Despite the extremely low radiation of dental X-rays, routine checkup X-rays are usually avoided during pregnancy if the expectant mother has received routine dental care and is in good dental health. If the expectant mother is in pain, dental X-rays can be safely taken, but I advise using two lead aprons to shield the radiation. Dental anesthetics at regular doses are not harmful to the unborn child. Some obstetricians advise dentists to use anesthetics without epinephrine during pregnancy.
Medications During Pregnancy
Most antibiotics used by dentists during pregnancy do not put the unborn child at risk. Acceptable antibiotics include penicillin, amoxicillin and clindamycin. Dentists should avoid prescribing tetracycline and narcotic pain medication, and not recommend over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil®). Dental pain should be treated with acetaminophen (Tylenol®) in most cases.
Best time for Dental Treatment
The best time for dental treatment during pregnancy is in the second trimester. Elective dental treatment such as cosmetic dentistry should be postponed until after the child is born. Always consult your obstetrician if you have any questions about medications or treatment provided by your dentist.
Dr. Neal answers all of your questions about pregnancy and dental care at Crystal Lake Dental Associates