There are two major dental concerns for pregnant woman – avoiding dental emergencies and treatment in the last trimester and preventing periodontal [gum] disease. If you are trying to become pregnant or have recently learned that you are, try to schedule a dental checkup and a cleaning within your first trimester. It is better to have dental work completed within the 4th to 6th month of your pregnancy than having to deal with potential complications from anesthesia, medication or extensive procedures during your last trimester. If you have a dental emergency in the 3rd trimester, consult your obstetrician and consult with us a soon as possible. You should definitely postpone any elective procedures until after you give birth.
It is common for pregnant women to develop pregnancy gingivitis. Gingivitis is an inflammation of your gums and surrounding tissues that is characterized by redness, swelling, tenderness and bleeding. The primary cause is an increased level of hormones – especially estrogen and progesterone, which correlates with an increase in dental plaque [sticky mixture of bacteria, food & debris]. This condition starts to become evident in the 2nd trimester. If you had any pre-existing gingivitis problems prior to your pregnancy, it will probably worsen and if left untreated, it could lead to bone loss around the teeth. Pregnant women also risk developing Pregnancy tumors, that are benign growths that arise out of swollen gums. Normally, the treatment is to leave them alone until they break on their own. However, if they interfere with eating or oral hygiene, we may have to surgically remove them.
To prevent or minimize pregnancy gingivitis, take extra care and time with good brushing and flossing techniques to remove the plaque. It is advisable to have a professional prophylaxis [cleaning] in the 1st and 2nd trimester. Have good balanced diet, getting plenty of vitamin C and B12. And as we all know, smokers should refrain from smoking for the entire pregnancy.
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