Sometimes, dental procedures like getting a tooth pulled can’t wait even if you’re pregnant. But don’t worry! It can be done without harming your baby.
Pregnancy is a time to focus on the well-being of yourself and the baby. You’re eating right and taking your vitamins. Yet with all the preparations and doctor visits, you may not think much about your oral health. Even so, dental emergencies such as needing a tooth extraction can happen during pregnancy.
Postponing a tooth extraction until after delivery isn’t advisable. Not only will you experience increased pain at a time when you should be waiting for the joyful arrival of your baby, but you’re also at risk of infection and more damage to your teeth and gums. Work with your dentist and your OB-GYN to determine how to safely undergo a tooth extraction.
Dental care during pregnancy
First, let’s talk about how pregnancy affects your teeth and gums. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can inflame your gums, leading to swelling and tenderness. Called “pregnancy gingivitis,” this condition can cause your gums to bleed when brushing. Leaving gingivitis untreated can lead to more severe gum disease.
Further, a high-carbohydrate diet during pregnancy may increase your risk of cavities. And the acids brought up during morning sickness bouts could erode the enamel on your teeth, making them more susceptible to decay.
Another rare but possible occurrence during pregnancy is known as “pregnancy tumors.” These tumors are not cancerous. Instead, they’re growths of swollen tissue appearing on the gums, likely due to plaque buildup. Although they may bleed a bit, the tumors disappear after delivery. If they are bothersome, your dentist can remove them.
Brushing and flossing daily and a professional cleaning during your regular dental visits when pregnant can prevent those problems from spiraling into more serious issues. But what about a dental emergency, like needing a tooth pulled?
Getting a tooth extracted during pregnancy: Learn the facts
Yes, you’ll need an X-ray before the tooth is pulled. But if you’re concerned about X-ray exposure, don’t be! X-rays contain an extremely safe, low-level of radiation. Plus, you’ll be covered with a lead apron to undergo an X-ray, so the risk to your baby is very low.
Local anesthesia also presents minimal risk as the solution doesn’t travel through the bloodstream. A Journal of the American Dental Association report concluded that local anesthesia given during dental procedures posed no significant harm to the baby or mother. However, if you need sedation or general anesthesia, talk to your dentist and OB-GYN about whether it’s advisable. Generally speaking, it’s recommended to avoid sedation or general anesthesia until the baby is born.
The timing of the extraction is also essential. Ideally, the second trimester is the optimal time. The first trimester is too early in the baby’s development, and waiting until the third trimester, when you’re well into the pregnancy, could make sitting in a dental chair uncomfortable. Yet if the tooth must be pulled immediately due to infection or damage, you can have it done during any trimester safely in consultation with your doctor and dentist.
After extraction, you can reduce pain with Tylenol, as it’s proven safe for use during pregnancy. Talk to your dentist and pregnancy specialist about other pain relievers.
Any non-essential dental work should be postponed until after delivery. But sometimes that’s not always possible. Open communication with your dentist and OB-GYN can mean getting that painful tooth pulled safely and having a happy, stress-free time waiting for your bundle of joy!
Contact Espire Dental in Colorado
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Colorado Springs location today! Our highly trained dentists can examine your teeth and recommend safe dental procedures if needed during pregnancy. Don’t live near our Colorado Springs office? Find one of our other locations near you.
8610 Explorer Drive #315
Colorado Springs, CO 80920