While it is always for the sake of you and your baby’s health, the “don’t do” list for pregnant women can often be overwhelming. In addition to avoiding certain activities and laying off specific foods and drinks, you may also be told to be cautious about certain dental procedures during pregnancy. It is important to understand what is safe and what is not when it comes to dental care during pregnancy so that you don’t put your oral health at risk or suffer through dental pain when you don’t have to.
Professional dental care should never stop during pregnancy. In fact, your baby’s health may depend on it. Did you know that untreated gum disease during pregnancy can lead to premature birth? Beyond your routine dental care visits, however, there may some uncertainty as to what dental procedures are safe and unsafe. One of the most common dental procedures in question is root canal therapy.
Timing of Root Canals for Expected Mothers
A root canal is the procedure of choice when there is a painful infection fostering inside your tooth. To eliminate the pain, remove the infection and save your tooth, a root canal is performed. You’ll be happy to know that if you are pregnant and experiencing this type of pain from an infected tooth, you can get a root canal. However, if it is possible to wait until your second trimester (weeks 14-20), research says your risks can decrease significantly. Keep in mind that neglecting an oral infection of any kind can lead to further consequences. When it comes to root canals, let your dentist and physician work together to determine if you need immediate treatment or if your procedure can wait until your second trimester or after delivery.
Signs You Need a Root Canal
Pregnant or not, it is important that you can recognize when root canal therapy may be needed. These are typically symptoms of an infection, and oral infections can be more prevalent in expectant moms due to changing and surging hormones.
WebMD lists the following signs that you may need root canal therapy:
- Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
- Prolonged sensitivity (pain) to hot or cold temperatures (after the heat or cold has been removed)
- Discoloration (darkening) of the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness in nearby gums
- A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
If you would like more information about the safety of root canal therapy or other types of dental procedures during pregnancy, please call Gilreath Family Dentistry.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,