Can I go to the dentist during pregnancy?
Visiting the dentist during pregnancy is possible, and even recommended. It is advisable to make an appointment during the second trimester of pregnancy for a complete check-up.
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Why is it important to visit the dentist during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your body undergoes numerous physiological and hormonal changes. Not only do these changes affect your skin, they can also affect your oral health, i.e. your gums and teeth, by promoting inflammatory reactions and bleeding. This phenomenon is amplified if you had regular gum bleeding before your pregnancy.
When you're pregnant, your gums are more sensitive to plaque and the bacteria it contains. Why is this? With the hormones linked to pregnancy, pregnant women's gums react in an exaggerated way to the presence of dental plaque. It can become red, swollen and bleed easily. This is known as gingivitis. Gingivitis needs to be treated promptly to avoid complications. Some women also develop a benign tumor called "epulis". This tumour is not dangerous and disappears after childbirth.
Frequent vomiting during the 1st trimester of pregnancy can also damage the pregnant woman's email, due to the acidity of the bile. This causes hypersensitivity to hot and cold, and pain.
Inflamed gums are a gateway for microbes. If left untreated, cavities can turn into toothache, and even abscesses - an acute infection. Similarly, an untreated infection can increase the risk of premature delivery.
Can poor oral health lead to premature delivery?
As we've just explained, gingivitis is a fairly common inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis is an infectious disease that can affect one or more teeth, and corresponds to the destruction of the periodontium (tooth-supporting tissue comprising gum, bone and ligaments). This can lead to tooth loosening, with irreversible consequences for your teeth. What's more, bacteria from periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream and reach the placenta. As a result, periodontal disease can lead to premature delivery, pre-eclampsia and low-birth-weight babies. But these diseases are easily preventable with good oral hygiene and regular check-ups with your dentist. In fact, a preventive dental check-up is covered by the French health insurance scheme at 100%, with no advance payment required. If you suffer from gingivitis or any other dental problem, we advise you to consult a dental specialist as soon as possible to avoid any complications during your pregnancy.
What dental care is possible during pregnancy?
Dental care is possible during pregnancy, and even recommended! If you're planning to have a baby, you can even visit the dentist before you become pregnant to check that your teeth are in good condition, and that you have no cavities or particular problems. The dentist can take the opportunity to do some scaling if necessary, as well as any other care you may need to maintain your health.
Then, when you're pregnant, schedule a visit to the dentist during your second trimester. This examination is highly recommended, and the French health insurance scheme sends all pregnant women information on the oral examination they should have. This examination is fully reimbursed by the social security system, with no advance payment required.
Is it possible to have X-rays during pregnancy?
To treat acute problems such as abscesses, X-rays may be necessary. Despite what you might think, X-rays can be taken even when you're pregnant. For example, you can have a panoramic x-ray to check for cavities. The radiologist s will make sure to protect the fetus from radiation by placing a lead apron over your belly. It's also possible to have a general anaesthetic when you're pregnant, but most of the time, you'll want to avoid procedures that are too demanding, with multiple appointments, etc.
Dental hygiene during pregnancy?
For proper dental hygiene, use a soft toothbrush. This type of toothbrush prevents bleeding when brushing. To avoid nausea and vomiting, which can weaken tooth enamel, use a smaller toothbrush. If you do vomit, avoid brushing your teeth immediately afterwards: the saliva must cover your tooth enamel to protect it. Instead, rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash.
During pregnancy, you need to take extra care when it comes to dental hygiene: choose water rather than sugary drinks, and brush your teeth after every meal.