What to Expect With Your Dental Health When You’re Expecting

Swollen ankles. Nausea that strikes randomly. And wildly-fluctuating hormone changes that could make a saint swear.

Ahh, the glow of pregnancy.

Your body is changing and growing so rapidly, it is easy to overlook your teeth during the nine (let’s be honest, it’s more like ten) months of growing your little peanut. Here are some dental health situations you may face and how to address them, as recommended by the American Dental Association.

What’s Going On In My Mouth?

Even if you’ve received gold stars your entire life, pregnancy can bring on “pregnancy gingivitis,” or an inflammation of the gums producing swelling and tenderness. Flossing or brushing may cause bleeding. Like with many issues, this is a result of those pesky hormones. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious forms of gum disease. Discuss the condition with our staff. A few extra cleanings may help significantly.

Some women experience “pregnancy tumors,” or an overgrowth of tissue that appears on the gums, often during the second trimester. Despite the name, these are non-cancerous growths commonly found between teeth with a raw-looking, raspberry-like appearance. The growths can bleed easily. Currently, we believe this is caused by excess plaque. If you have any concerns, your dentist can remove them.

The No-No’s

As you can see, it’s important to maintain your regular dental checkups and cleanings. Hold off on elective procedures until after delivery. This is especially important during the first and late third trimesters, as these periods include critical development for the baby.

Please share the name and dosages of any drugs you are taking, including prenatal vitamins, and any special doctor’s orders. This information will be used to modify, if necessary, your treatment plan. If needed, your dental team may consult with your physician.

X-rays will be avoided, except in the case of a dental emergency, even though the radiation is extremely low. If you need an X-ray, we will drape your stomach with a lead apron. We also will cover your throat to protect your thyroid. Remember, if you notice changes in your mouth during pregnancy, give us a call so that we can reduce your stress and help you maintain a healthy smile. You’ll need it. You are going to be smiling a lot soon. Next, we will look at nutrition and your dental health during pregnancy.

About James Stewart DDS

Dr. James R. Stewart, Jr., graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in microbiology, then earned his D.D.S. degree from its School of Dentistry in 1987. The following year he completed a general practice residency at Sinai Hospital of Detroit.