Pregnancy and Dental Health

Pregnancy and Dental HealthIntroduction:

While most people are aware that good oral health is essential for the overall health of both mother and child, misunderstandings about the safety of dental care during pregnancy may cause pregnant women to avoid seeing their dentist. In actual fact, dentists can create a treatment plan that is safe, effective, and essential for combating the adverse effects of oral disease during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, your hormone levels dramatically increase and a woman’s oral health can undergo significant changes. The rise in progesterone causes your gums to have an exaggerated response to plaque – pregnant women can experience Gingivitis, Pyogenic Granulomas (also known as ‘Pregnancy Tumours’), and mild to severe enlargement or swelling of the gums.

Clinically, pregnancy gingivitis is no different than non-pregnancy gingivitis. Patients experience redness and inflammation of the gums  and increased tooth mobility. Between 30 and 100% of pregnant women will experience varying degrees of gingivitis.

While bleeding and inflammation of the gums has been noted in all trimesters of pregnancy, it usually disappears three to six months after delivery, provided that proper oral hygiene measures are implemented.

Pyogenic Granulomas are reported by 10% of pregnant women. These typically appear as a growth in the mouth and usually disappear after the child is born. They are painless and purple or red in color, but they can exhibit spontaneous bleeding. If a granuloma is painful, bleeds severely, or interferes with eating, then surgical removal is the treatment of choice (after the pregnancy is over).

Gingival enlargement, which is an overgrowth or an increase in the size of the gums, occurs less frequently than gingivitis and pregnancy tumors. In severe cases, the gums can “grow” to cover the teeth completely. Pregnancy gingivitis and gingival enlargement are thought to be the result of a heightened response to bacteria in the mouth; hence why it is so important to educate and motivate patients to maintain good oral hygiene during pregnancy.

Dental disease is putting your baby at risk

Periodontal disease has been linked to problem pregnancies. Studies have shown a relationship between periodontal disease and preterm, low-birthweight babies. Chronic or acute infections caused by periodontal disease also have damaging effects on both mother and baby. If proper oral hygiene is not initiated prior to or during pregnancy, conditions such as gingivitis, pyogenic granulomas, and gingival enlargement can worsen as the pregnancy progresses. Pregnant women should maintain their regular, bi-annual checkups and consult their dentist if they notice any changes in their oral health.

Some Useful Tips about Pregnancy and Dental Health:

1. Be diligent about your oral hygiene. Frequent brushing, flossing and proper nutrition are vital in keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

2. Attend your dentist. Make sure to visit the dentist shortly before or after you become pregnant. The middle trimester of pregnancy is a good time to visit.

3. Plan ahead. Whenever possible, take care of essential dental needs before planning to become pregnant. This will lower the potential for oral infections and their potentially harmful effects on your pregnancy, as well as decrease the likelihood of stressful dental emergencies.

Dental Emergencies during Pregnancy

Good Oral HygieneMost dentists (including ourselves here at Shelbourne Dental Clinic) believe that major dental treatment should be postponed until after the pregnancy is over. This is due to the complications that can occur during surgery or in the antibiotics given during treatment. If you have an appointment with your dentist, make sure you inform him/her that you are pregnant! It is very important that he/she knows before commencing treatment.

In the case of an emergency, please do seek an appointment with your dentist. Make sure that the dentist knows your condition. In cases of pregnancy, some Local Anaesthetic Agents are given in a different quantity as they can penetrate the placenta. Some antibiotics such as tetracycline can cause damage to your baby and will not be used.

And finally, as we’ve mentioned above, please remember to brush and floss daily so your smile will be beautiful when the new baby arrives!

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Tuesday 7.30am - 5.00pm
Wednesday 8.00am - 7.00pm
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7 Grand Canal Wharf, South Dock Rd, Dublin 4
Eircode: D04 R860
Phone: 01 6655900
Fax: 01 6655901
Website: http://shelbourneclinic.ie
Email: info@shelbourneclinic.ie

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