During pregnancy, one may experience some changes in oral health. The main change is a flow in hormones, specifically an increase in estrogen and progesterone, which is connected to an increase in the mouth of plaque on teeth.
The plaque which is not removed can cause gingivitis-red, tender, swollen gums which are more likely to bleed. “Pregnancy gingivitis” could affect most pregnant women to some degree, and generally begins to surface in the second trimester. The condition is likely to worsen during pregnancy, if one already has gingivitis. Gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease which is a more serious type of gum disease, if not treated.
Women who are pregnant are also at risk for developing pregnancy tumors, inflammatory, benign growths that develop when swollen gums become irritated. Usually, the tumors are left alone and will normally shrink on their own. But if a tumor is uncomfortable and interferes with chewing, brushing or other oral hygiene procedures, the dentist may decide to remove it.
Keeping the teeth clean and healthy especially near the gum line can prevent gingivitis. It is advisable to brush teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day after each meal. Use of floss each day also helps in the prevention of gingivitis. More vitamins C and B-12 help keep the oral cavity healthy and strong. Controlling plaque will lessen gum irritation and decrease the probability of pregnancy tumors.
As a pregnant person sees her dentist, the dentist will assess the oral condition as well as map out a dental plan for the rest of the pregnancy period. A visit to the dentist also is recommended in the second trimester for a cleaning, to monitor changes and to gauge the effectiveness of the oral hygiene. The best time for any dental treatment is the fourth through sixth month.
If you're planning to become pregnant or suspect you're pregnant, you should see a dentist right away. Otherwise, you should schedule a check-up in your first trimester for a cleaning. Your dentist will assess your oral condition and map out a dental plan for the rest of your pregnancy. A visit to the dentist is also recommended in the second trimester for a cleaning, to monitor changes and to gauge the effectiveness of your oral hygiene. Depending on the patient, another appointment may be scheduled early in the third trimester, but these appointments should be kept as brief as possible.
Women with dental emergencies that create severe pain can be treated during any trimester, but your obstetrician should be consulted during emergencies that require anesthesia or when medication is being prescribed. Only X-rays which are needed for emergencies should be taken during pregnancy. Finally, elective procedures which can be postponed should be delayed until after the baby’s birth.