Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pregnancy and Dental Appointments

Oral health is absolutely necessary in attaining and maintaining overall health. It is especially important to maintain good oral health in pregnant women to prevent pathogenic (disease causing) bacteria from being transmitted to the fetus.

You certainly don't want to skip cleanings and annual exams. Routine procedures are not only safe, but are recommended.

During pregnancy, women undergo hormonal changes. When this occurs, a condition called pregnancy gingivitis frequently develops. For more information on pregnancy gingivitis, please refer to my previous blog on the subject by clicking here.

Women that exhibit gum disease are significantly at greater risk for delivering preterm and low birth weight babies.

Although I just said that you certainly want to keep your routine appointments, there are better times throughout the pregnancy than others. In general, avoid appointments in the first trimester and second half of third trimester. .

We want to avoid the first trimester for the benefit of the developing child. Although it's relatively safe, you still want to avoid any unnecessary medications because this is a critical time in the baby's development.

The second trimester is considered to be the best time to have a dental appointment.

We want to avoid dental appointments in the third trimester mostly for the mother's benefit. Laying in a chair for extended periods can be rather uncomfortable.

Many people have concerns with taking x-rays for good reason. However, if x-rays are necessary, they can be taken safely as long as the baby is shielded from radiation. Dental x-rays provide very low levels of radiation.......especially when digital x-rays are taken. You'll likely get more radiation from driving your car to work in the middle of the day than you will from a digital x-ray.

In conclusion, do not defer routine dental care. If considering elective (non-emergency) treatment, do so in the second trimester. If an acute infection occurs, you must address it at any stage of the pregnancy to prevent the bacteria in your blood from traveling to the growing baby. Delay in treatment can result in unwanted results in both the mother and baby.

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit

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