When you are pregnant, general dentistry becomes more important than ever. Hormonal changes put you at a higher risk for gum disease, which, in turn, can negatively affect your baby. Fortunately, at Ridgewood Dental Associates, our dentists can offer treatment before gum disease or other dental problems impact you or your unborn child. Like many women, you may worry that treatment will harm your little one. Rest assured that dental care is quite safe, especially when performed by our experienced providers. Though we try to minimize x-rays and extensive treatments during pregnancy, routine dental care will not put you at risk. To learn more about dental care and pregnancy, contact our Ridgewood practice today.
Pregnancy and Your Periodontal Health
Pregnancy gingivitis is a common problem for many women who are expecting. Gingivitis develops when bacteria, plaque, and tartar gather on your gum line. This buildup can cause irritation, bleeding, and sensitivity. When you are pregnant, your body will produce extra estrogen and progesterone. These hormones can limit your ability to combat oral bacteria. It can also worsen inflammation. Fortunately, gingivitis is reversible. A thorough cleaning is typically enough to restore your oral health. However, if gingivitis progresses to the next phase, gum disease, pockets of bacteria will form in your gums. Although your dentist can remove bacteria, you will always be at risk for a recurrence of the disease. Periodontitis can lead to gum recession, severe discomfort, extensive bleeding, tooth loss, and jaw recession.
Proper Care Can Protect Your Baby
In addition to the effects of gum disease on your smile, the condition can also harm your little one. Gum disease (not gingivitis) has a strong link to preeclampsia and premature birth. Experts speculate that oral bacteria will travel from your mouth to your uterus. There, it will trigger the production of prostaglandins, compounds that trigger contractions.
Despite the risks of gum disease, there is no reason to panic if you notice slight irritation or bleeding. In all likelihood, it is simply pregnancy gingivitis. However, you should have a cleaning as soon as possible to prevent the condition from progressing to gum disease. Thorough brushing and flossing, along with a healthy diet, are also important.
Is Dental Care Safe When You Are Pregnant?
The myth persists that dental treatment is harmful for women and their unborn babies. While it is true that you should avoid unnecessary x-rays and certain medications, regular exams and cleanings will not pose a risk for your child. Even if you do have a cavity or dental infection, you will still be able to receive the care you need. Your dentist will simply take extra precautions to avoid harming your unborn baby. For example, he or she may recommend different medications than usual. You should also avoid cosmetic procedures until after your baby is born.
Schedule an Appointment at Ridgewood Dental Associates
A dental visit is important for your smile and your baby’s well being. Contact us today to schedule a routine visit or to seek treatment for gingivitis.