I just found out I am expecting a child. I had an appointment to get my teeth whitened in a couple of weeks. Is it safe to go through with that appointment or should I cancel it and postpone until after my child is born.
First, congratulations on your expected little one. Children are such a blessing. When it comes to teeth whitening while pregnant, both the FDA and Manufacturers will tell you to ask your OB/GYN. The reason for that is there is no data on the effects of teeth whitening products on fetuses. By the way, did you know that fetus is just the Latin word for offspring?
The reason there is no data on the effects is because noone has run any tests. As you can imagine, no company wants to associate their name with medical testing on pregnant women and unborn children which could go horribly wrong. That doesn’t mean anything will go wrong. It just means, thus far, no one has been willing to find out.
In your position, I would talk to your OB and get his or her opinion. If they say go forward with your teeth whitening, I would actually still have you put the procedure off until your second trimester. The first trimester is always the riskiest and the baby seems most at risk to little things upsetting the balance of things. In the second trimester, your body is more stable. It’s also the most comfortable part of pregnancy. By the time you get into your third trimester, you’re feeling quite large and sitting for long periods of time can be uncomfortable.
Cosmetic & General Dental Care During Pregnancy
The time periods for treatment I gave above stand true for any general dental work as well. For the most part, most mothers-to-be tend to put off any unnecessary medical and cosmetic procedures until after their terms are over and their baby safely delivered.
However, there are things you don’t want to wait on. Here are a couple:
- Don’t Avoid Check-ups and Cleanings
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, attributed to Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Nothing really happens at your check-ups and cleanings that puts your child in any from of danger. Some moms worry about the x-rays. However, most dentists these days use digital x-rays which hardly has any radiation. If that tiny bit still worries you, you can insist your dentist doesn’t do x-rays during your check-ups until after delivery. I don’t know any dentists who would have an issue with that.
Keeping those cleaning appointments will help keep your oral health on track and prevent you from ending up with a dental emergency, which would require both x-rays and antibiotics. Better for both you and baby to not let anything get that far.
- Don’t Avoid the Dentist When You’re in Pain
You wake up one morning and when you bite down on your toast a sharp pain winds its way through your gums causing you to shudder. Then the throbbing starts. You know what’s happened. You’ve developed decay that has gotten far enough along to blow up into an infection. You likely need a root canal treatment and dental crown. What’s a gal to do now? Do you want to expose your baby to x-rays and antibiotics? Of course not! Wouldn’t it be better to just try and tough it out until baby is born? Definitely NOT. Don’t wait. It’s important you get seen. Here’s why.
A tooth infection puts a strain on both you and baby’s body. Things like gum disease and dental infections have been linked to low birth weight and pre-term labor. Even worse, infections spread. Think about how close your jaw is to your heart and brain. Heaven forbid if any infection spread to those areas. It will become life-threatening quickly. Believe it or not, people still die from tooth infections.
It’s much safer for both you and baby to have the infection treated. There are antibiotics which have been proven safe to take during pregnancy. In reality, getting treatment protects your child.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Mavrostomos, serving all of Somerset County including Far Hills, Bridgewater, Bedminster, and Basking Ridge.