Seeing or Avoiding the Dentist During Pregnancy

10 Questions to help you decide on seeing or avoiding the dentist during pregnancy

Once you’ve read about does and don’ts of seeing a dentist during pregnancy, it’s now time to make a decision. Here is a list of question to better help you decide if seeing or avoiding the dentist during pregnancy makes more sense. Please answer each question with either a “yes” or “no“:

  1. Is your plan to get a dental cleaning?
  2. If you are in pain, would you say it’s between an 8 to 10 (On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest)?
  3. Is your pain severe and throbbing in nature?
  4. Does the pain last for more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time?
  5. Are you still in your first or second trimester?
  6. Can you go back to a dentist you’ve already been to recently?
  7. If you can’t go back to your existing dentist, do you have access to pick up your X-rays from them?
  8. Have you already picked up a medical clearance letter from your physician?
  9. If you are in need of medications, have you already asked for them from your primary care or OB/GYN?
  10. Has your physician positively advised you to seek dental treatment for you pain?

Good candidate for seeing the dentist during pregnancy

If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions then you should get yourself ready and go to your dentist even if you are pregnant.

Question 1: Cleaning during pregnancy

There’s nothing wrong with getting a cleaning during your pregnancy as we’ve already mentioned. In fact, getting a dental cleaning during pregnancy is highly advisable. Especially if you’re suffering from pregnancy gingivitis which is indicated by easily bleeding gums or sudden development of teeth sensitivity.

Obviously, you want to avoid taking any X-rays for your dental cleaning. It’s also best to avoid getting numb, even if you normally prefer to do so. If your teeth are very sensitive, consider using topical numbing agents instead of injectable types. If this doesn’t work then have your dentist or hygienist switch out their cleaning instrument. For instance have them use a hand instrument instead of a cavitron which is typically more painful. Finally, try to get your dental cleaning during your second trimester to take maximum advantage of it.

Questions 2 through 4: Severity of pain

If you’re going to go through the hassles of seeing your dentist during pregnancy, there better be some serious pain! If your teeth are slightly hot and cold sensitive, try to modify your diet or use a sensitivity toothpaste to see if it helps. If however you are experiencing an actual toothache, such as one which is throbbing and lingering, then see your dentist immediately for further assistance.

Question 5: How far along you are

If you’re in your first or second trimester then you know that there is  still a ways to go. It makes more sense to try and seek some sort of treatment at this point. Especially if you experience pain early on during pregnancy, then you probably won’t be able to wait for so many more weeks. It’s best to make arrangements to go to your dentist and see if they can help fix your problem.

If however you are already too far along in your final trimester then it might just be wise to hold off just a bit longer. Consider talking to your physician for a little extra help with medications to better get you through these finals weeks. Of course you can always consult with your dentist to prepare yourself for what’s about to come if that’s your preference. Although at this point it might just make more sense to hold off on definitive treatment until after delivery.

Questions 6 and 7: Finding a new dentist

If you have a dentist you’ve been seeing regularly then seeking a consultation is rather easy. After all they already know you and probably even know which tooth it is that’s bothering you. They also have your X-rays on file which makes it much, much easier to treat you. Changing dentists during this period can be quite challenging. Building a relationship, taking X-rays and rendering quality care while pregnant are all more difficult when dealing with a new dentist.

Questions 8 through 10: Preparing for treatment

Once you’ve finally decided that you prefer to see your dentist, it’s now time to prepare for your appointment. See your primary care or OB/GYN to obtain a medical clearance letter beforehand. This way your dentist won’t have any excuse not to treat you.

Keep in mind that most dentists don’t require a clearance letter if you’re only seek a dental cleaning. However you should check with them in advance as this doesn’t always apply. Also make sure to ask your physician for any medication you might need. Note that dentists don’t like handing out any medications to pregnant moms.

Good candidate for avoiding the dentist during pregnancy

If you answered “no” to most of the above questions then you should avoid going to the dentist and postpone treatment until after delivery.

Final thought on seeing or avoiding the dentist during pregnancy

Pregnancy and dentistry are definitely not best friends with one another! And it’s not so much that your dentist doesn’t want to treat you during pregnancy. It’s just that they don’t want to do fillings, crowns, root canals, extractions or pretty much anything aside from a simple cleaning! It can be a tough decision deciding on seeing or avoiding the dentist during pregnancy, and you have to make the final decision!

What is pregnancy gingivitis?

Pregnancy gingivitis is inflammation and bleeding of gums which happens to some pregnant moms. It results from hormonal changes in our bodies during pregnancy. Sometimes your physician will advise you to obtain a dental cleaning to get your pregnancy gingivitis under control. Of course if you notice anything wrong with your teeth or gums, then you should take initiative to go and get a dental cleaning. Otherwise there can be permanent damage to your gums and jawbone which causes problems for years to come.

NEXT >> What are the protocols for seeing the dentist during pregnancy?

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