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FAQ:  Pregnancy and Nursing Newborns

I am 6 weeks pregnant. I have braces on and I was told I may need to have scaling done.

I also have a phobia for all dental procedures, so I've mainly been treated with sleep dentistry.

I would like to know if there is any type of sleep dentistry procedure I can still use while pregnant, and if I abosolutely need xrays. What can I do? ...Visitor from NJ

The current dental/medical thinking is not to have any elective dental care completed in the first trimester of pregnancy. Only emergency dental problems like severe toothaches, dental infections or trauma to the teeth are > usually treated in the first trimester.

It is also not advisable to have any sedative medications or nitrous oxide (laughing gas) at 6 weeks of pregnancy.

If you have braces and were told by a dentist you need dental scaling and root planing, this indicates a periodontal infection, with inflammation and bleeding of your gums. The increased bleeding and inflammation of your gums is also due to your pregnancy hormones as your baby develops.

At this stage of your pregnancy, if any dental x-rays are absolutely necessary it is best to use two x-ray shields and have digital x-rays taken which require much less radiation.

A major problem with periodontal (gum) disease and pregnancy is the link between the infection and fetal problems. Infected, swollen, bleeding gums can let bacteria into your bloodsteam that can pass the placental barrier and cause problems with the fetus.

Periodontal disease can cause lower birth weights and other complications in the newborn. All pregnant mothers to be should take very good care of their oral health for their babies sake and their own. There should be no bleeding of the gums while brushing or flossing to reduce the chance of fetal problems.

In your case Brenda, you should be flossing under your braces and below your gums everyday to prevent any bleeding. Although you are very apprehensive about going to the dentist, it is in your babies best interest and yours to find a dental practice that can help you treat your gum infection.

Also, do check with your OB/GYN about what they recommend as well about having dental treatment done, the medications and drugs to avoid,and the link between periodontal disease and fetal issues.

Editorial Staff

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