Is dental treatment safe in pregnancy?

Once a cavity is detected and diagnosis made, it is encouraged to have treatment done immediately; delaying treatment can result in further complications. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

Dental treatment is not only safe during pregnancy, it is highly recommended. In fact, the World Health Organisation recommends that dental treatment should be part of antenatal care since it is essential for the health of the mother and the unborn baby.

Not going for dental treatments while pregnant leads to a build-up of infections in the mouth and this infection can lead to complications in pregnancy and childbirth. Your child can easily be born prematurely or with a low birth weight. In addition, since pregnant mothers have a lower immunity, leaving the infection to build up can increase the chances of this infection getting into the bloodstream leading to other complications.

There is no danger of carrying out dental treatment during pregnancy, except the challenges that are posed by the pregnancy itself. These challenges are mainly because of hormonal changes which can lead to higher sensitivity to smells, which in turn can lead to tendencies to vomit, and any other inconveniences that are associated with morning sickness.

Infection build-up during pregnancy as a result of untreated teeth or gums, can actually worsen other conditions associated with pregnancy including high blood pressure, and pregnancy diabetes.

What can be done safely?

Most procedures can be done. However, we try to avoid stressful, non-urgent procedures, because most pregnant mothers tend to get tired easily. During the second trimester, however, most procedures can be done since at this time, the mother is stable and most drugs can be administered safely.

During the first trimester, only essential treatments such as cleaning of your teeth, tooth extraction, fillings and root canal treatments can be done. Procedures such as teeth alignment, dental implants or any surgery are discouraged. 

Dr Emmanuel Amukun is a dental surgeon at Marvels Dental Hospital, Busia.

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