Prenatal Dental Care

Chances are you chose this topic because you are expecting a baby. Or perhaps you are planning
on becoming pregnant in the near future and are concerned about prenatal dental care. In any
case, the health of the mother is the key factor in the health of a developing baby. We’re happy to
discuss any concerns you may have about dental care throughout your pregnancy.

1. Why Is Prenatal Dental Care Important?
There are a number of reasons why dental care is vital during pregnancy. First, tooth development
in the embryo begins as early as the fifth or sixth week of intrauterine life - often before your
pregnancy has been confirmed! Second, your eating habits may change, causing changes in your
oral health.

2. Dental Treatment During Pregnancy
You should advise your physician that you are continuing routine dental care during your
pregnancy (regular cleanings and fillings as necessary). We are happy to discuss treatment
considerations with your physician.

Normally, it’s best to schedule necessary visits during the second trimester of your pregnancy.
Morning sickness commonly occurs in the first trimester, and during the last trimester it may be
less comfortable for you to sit in one position for any length of time.

If you should have a dental “emergency” (such as unexplained pain or facial swelling) during your
pregnancy, you should contact us right away.

3. What About X-rays During Pregnancy?
We take only the minimum number of x-rays necessary, using ultra speed film and the lowest
radiation dose possible. As an added precaution, your uterus will be shielded with a protective,
lead lined apron.

4. Does Nutrition Affect Prenatal Dental Health?
Very definitely. Of course, you should check with your physician requiring dietary planning and
supplements. Throughout your pregnancy, it’s important that you get sufficient amounts of
vitamins A, C, and D; also protein, calcium and phosphorus.

At one time women believed that calcium was lost from the mother’s teeth during pregnancy. (“A
tooth for every baby.”) This is not true. The baby receives nutrients from the mother’s diet during
pregnancy.

We recommend the following (daily) nutritional guidelines for the expectant mother:
• 4 servings of breads, cereals or grain products
• 4 servings of fruit or vegetables
• 4 servings of milk, or dairy products
• 3 servings of meat, poultry or fish5.

Oral Hygiene And Pregnancy
Nutrition during pregnancy is also important because expectant women sometimes feel the need
to snack betwen meals. Foods that are rich in fermentable carbohydrates and refined sugars are a
particular culprit, because they are associated with the formation of dental plaque - a thin, sticky,
invisible layer of harmful bacteria. If not removed daily, plaque accumulates on the teeth,
especially in hard to reach areas - underneath the gumline and in between the teeth. Plaque causes
dental decay. If not removed, plaque left on the teeth hardens to form an irritating substance
called calculus (tartar).

The expectant mother should be aware that maintaining “squeaky clean” teeth during pregnancy is
of particular importance, not only to prevent tooth loss due to decay, but also to control a
commonly occuring condition, pregnancy gingivitis. This particular problem is caused by a rise in
the body’s level of hormones. Should you notice any unusual swelling, redness, tenderness or
bleeding of the gums, contact us right away!

6. Are There Any Other Considerations?
Yes. Taking of any medication during pregnancy should be done only on advice of your physician.
Certain drugs (even nonprescription ones) may have an effect upon your unborn baby. Also, be
sure to inform us of any medications that you are taking during your pregnancy, as well as any
significant treatment changes your physician prescribes.

7. A Final Word....
Your health and the health of your unborn baby are important to us. The special care you take of
yourself during your pregnancy is essential to the health of your unborn baby. Throughout your
pregnancy, we suggest the following:
• Maintain good oral hygiene by flossing and brushing regularly.
• Except for emergencies, schedule dental appointments during your second trimester.
• Eat a balanced diet.
• Take medication only on the recommendation of your physician.

Remember, the health of your child is just beginning. Proper care now helps to ensure a healthy,
happy baby. In the future, we will be happy to discuss your child’s dental needs, including age of
first examination, fluoride, pacifiers and early oral hygiene at home. The health of your baby is our
concern.