Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pregnancy Gingivitis Crystal Lake Dentist

Pregnancy Changes your Chemistry
For expectant parents the Joy of pregnancy cannot be matched. Picking our names, decorating the baby's room,  and baby showers dominate the parents thoughts. The physical changes occurring in the mother that accompany pregnancy need to be dealt with as well. One of those changes is how the body deals with inflammation and infections.  Hormonal changes in the mother lead to an exaggerated response to bacterial plaque in the mouth.

Pregnancy Gingivitis

Pregnancy gingivitis
 pregnancy tumor 
During pregnancy, many women experience increased sensitivity and puffiness of the gums. Pregnancy causes an alteration in the estrogen and progesterone levels that, when coupled with plaque that is present in the mouth, can cause an exaggerated form of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). In some cases, the infected gum can form a benign growth called a pregnancy tumor. The pregnancy tumor does not usually require treatment, and resolves after the child is born. Professional dental cleanings twice during your pregnancy, as well as frequent daily brushing (three times a day) and flossing, will greatly reduce gum swelling, sensitivity, and the risk of developing a pregnancy tumor. 

Gingivitis, Periodontitis and Low Birth-Weight Complications

Low Birth-Weight

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


  1. During pregnancy, a woman's body is compromised by another "being" inside her. The bones tend to lose calcium, and the same goes for the teeth. A pregnant woman's diet comes into account also, and that's why gingivitis occurs often during pregnancy.

    Harry Bronson

  2. Pregnancy Gingivitis is a hormone mediated response to inflammation. The gums can flair up.If the person is affected by morning sickness (vomiting) the teeth can suffer enamel loss due to the low PH of stomach acid. Often pregnant women will not be as careful in their oral hygiene, and will and/or have dietary changes (cravings). These can be harmful to the teeth.
    This is why it is so important to stay regular with dental checkups and cleanings during pregnancy.
    Dr. Neal

  3. Pregnant women are more susceptible to mouth diseases because of hormonal change, this is why they should be more wary about what they eat during pregnancy and give attention to their oral health. A baby inside the womb highly depends on their mother's health; even the slightest sign of flu can put a fetus life in danger, what more gingivitis. My Austin Dentist strongly advice expectant moms to never neglect a dentist visit; this can be a preventive measure to gingivitis. Other than that, maintaining a good oral hygiene, such as brushing twice a day, flossing, or gargling a special kind of mouthwash can help avoid risks of mouth disease.

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About Me

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Born in the Midwest. Married with 6 children and 3 grandchildren. Attended Maine West High School, Harper Jr College, Northern Illinois University, the University of Illinois College of Dentistry. Practice in Crystal Lake, Illinois.