Emergency Dental Care and the COVID-19 Pandemic

[vc_section css=”.vc_custom_1605359852782{padding-bottom: 60px !important;}”][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]During the COVID-19 pandemic, every aspect of our lives has taken a drastic turn. And while many activities grind to a halt, health-related conditions don’t always follow the same strategy. Dental problems often occur at the most inopportune time, and our current situation amplifies that challenge.

The American Dental Association (ADA) guidelines currently recommend that dentists suspend elective care and provide emergency and urgent care only. In addition, many states have mandated similar restrictions. As a result, many dentists and patients find themselves with unprecedented treatment restrictions.

GUIDELINE GOALS: Prevent the spread of COVID-19 AND preserve supplies of Personal Protective Equipment for hospital providers.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner equal_height=”yes” content_placement=”middle” css=”.vc_custom_1605358302257{margin-top: 30px !important;}”][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]What Is Elective Care?

The easiest definition of elective care is dental care that you can reschedule for another time without developing pain or infection in the near future. This includes:

  • Regular checkups, professional cleanings, and x-rays
  • Removal of teeth that aren’t causing pain or swelling
  • Filling cavities that aren’t painful
  • Braces visits
  • Regular denture adjustments or relines
  • Crowns for asymptomatic broken teeth
  • Teeth whitening
  • Implant placement
  • Gum surgery for non-urgent issues

Other procedures may fall onto this list, and the restrictions could change weekly. Some states have even seen different restrictions implemented in different counties.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]What Is Emergency Dental Care?

True dental emergencies are problems that are potentially life-threatening and need immediate attention. Time is of the essence in these cases:

  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Diffuse swelling spreading underneath the eye
  • Diffuse swelling spreading below the jawline into the neck
  • Swelling in the neck that’s creating difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Trauma to the bones of the face that affect the airway
  • Fever accompanying these conditions

These conditions require immediate evaluation and treatment. If you’re unable to be seen by us or another dentist right away, an ER visit is warranted.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner content_placement=”top” css=”.vc_custom_1605359810225{margin-top: 30px !important;}”][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]What Is Urgent Dental Care?

Urgent dental problems require immediate attention to treat severe pain and/or the risk of infection. Guidelines allow treatment of these problems:

  • Persistent bleeding that doesn’t stop with pressure
  • Swelling in your mouth or face
  • Tooth pain
  • Gum swelling with pain or swelling
  • Removal of stitches or dressings after surgery
  • Broken or knocked-out tooth from trauma
  • Denture adjustment in cancer treatment patients
  • Trimming or adjusting braces that are hurting gums
  • Dental care required before critical medical treatment
  • Placement of a final crown or bridge if the temporary is broken or irritating the gums

Other problems may be treatable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please reach out to our team if you have any questions.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][/vc_section]

Cold and Flu Season and Oral Health

Coming down with the flu is never any fun, but it’s still no time to let up on your oral hygiene routine.

The same applies if you get a cold. With flu and cold season starting up, we thought this was a good time to share some tips for maintaining good oral health through one of these common illnesses.

Brushing and Flossing Can Help You Feel Better

As well as you can while sick, try to remember to brush and floss as usual. It’s not just about the comfort of maintaining some part of your normal routine, or about getting some small sense of accomplishment out of it — no, brushing and flossing can actually make you feel better!

Keeping your mouth as clean as possible is a real boost to your overall sense of well-being. A clean mouth helps you feel rejuvenated and refreshed, so don’t let the simple habits of brushing and flossing fall by the wayside while you’re sick. Getting rid of oral bacteria can only help while you’re fighting a cold or the flu!

A Stuffy Nose Leads to Dry Mouth

If you can’t breathe out of your nose because of congestion, then obviously your only option is to breathe through your mouth. That’s never great for oral health, because it tends to dry things out. We need our saliva to fend off bacteria and wash away food debris, and dry mouth significantly increases the risk of tooth decay.

Sometimes the medicine we take to help with a cold or the flu (such as antihistamines, pain relievers, and decongestants) can actually make the dry mouth situation worse. Keep this in mind and make sure to drink plenty of water and, when possible, breathe through your nose.

Congestion and Bad Breath

Have you ever noticed a snotty taste when you have a cold? Well, it can also be a smell, in the form of bad breath. This happens because of post nasal drip, or excess mucus leaking down the back of the throat. It’s easy for bacteria to multiply in this situation, which leads to unpleasant smells — yet another reason why brushing and flossing are just as important when we’re sick!

Cut Down on Sugar

The bad bacteria in our mouths love when we eat sugar, even when it comes in the form of a cough drop. Sucking on a sugary cough drop is just as bad for our teeth as sucking on a hard candy, which is why it’s a good idea to choose a sugar free cough drop for your throat-soothing needs.

Rehydrate with Water

We tend to reach for beverages like orange juice, sports drinks, or sweetened tea when we’re sick. If we do, we should remember to rinse with water afterward to wash away any leftover sugar, but we should really be drinking water more than anything else. It will make up for the fluids lost due to flu or cold symptoms, and particularly if it’s the stomach flu, it helps to protect the teeth from the damaging effects of stomach acid from frequent vomiting.

Have Questions About Oral Health?

If there’s anything else you’d like to know about the relationship between oral health and common illnesses like colds or the flu, just give us a call! We want all of our patients to have the tools they need to stay as healthy as possible in addition to specifically having good oral health.

What to Do When a Toothache Strikes

Toothaches can happen for a number of reasons.

It’s important to know what to do about them, because they don’t always happen when the dentist’s office is open. Do you have a plan for how to deal with an after-hours toothache?

Major Causes of Toothaches

Tooth decay is the main culprit behind a painful tooth, but there are others too, from gum disease to pulp inflammation to dental abscess to an actual injury to the tooth. Teeth that are impacted in the jaw can also be painful. In addition to all these, tooth sensitivity can be uncomfortable, and sometimes the problem traces back to simple congestion or a sinus infection.

Managing Dental Pain Until the Appointment

If at all possible, come to us right away with your dental pain, but as we mentioned before, toothaches don’t always respect office hours. Here are a few things you can do to keep the pain level manageable until you can see us:

  • Apply a cold compress near the sore area
  • Use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pills or topical medication
  • Reduce inflammation by rinsing and spitting with warm saltwater (do not swallow)

Ways to Prevent Future Toothaches

No one who has already had a toothache wants to have another one. They can’t always be prevented, as in cases where sinus infections or an injury were the cause, but aches and pains that result from poor dental health are ones patients can often prevent with the right habits.

The most important of those habits are brushing and flossing. Brush for twice a day for two full minutes using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Also cut down on sugary foods and drinks that feed harmful oral bacteria, and make sure to schedule a professional dental cleaning and dental exam twice a year.

Why are these regular appointments so important? It’s very difficult to completely avoid tartar buildup without professional cleanings, and tooth decay doesn’t always have symptoms at first. If a dentist doesn’t catch it early on, it is unlikely to go away on its own and much more likely to get worse and become a painful (and expensive) problem.

We’re Here for You and Your Teeth!

As much as we don’t enjoy feeling pain, it’s the body’s natural alarm system to signal when something is wrong, and we need to pay attention. If you have a toothache, no matter what you think the cause is, schedule an appointment so that we can get to the bottom of it and recommend next steps.

Fluoride and Cavity Prevention

If you look at any tube of toothpaste with the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance, you’ll see fluoride listed as the active ingredient.

Trace amounts of fluoride are also added to the drinking water in many communities to further promote strong and healthy teeth. But what is fluoride and how does it work?

A Brief History of Fluoride in Drinking Water

First, let’s take a look back at the fascinating history of this mineral. It all starts in Colorado Springs at the turn of the 20th century. Dentists in the town encountered numerous cases of “Colorado brown stain” — tooth discoloration that, bizarrely, was connected to a lower rate of cavities. Today, we call that fluorosis. Eventually, they traced it back to the water supply and discovered naturally occurring fluoride to be the cause.

Dentists were curious to see whether it was possible to keep the cavity prevention without any of the staining by lowering the level of fluoride, and they were right! When fluoride was first added to the public water supply in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it reduced the rate of childhood dental caries by a whopping 60 percent, with no adverse effects except for occasional cases of mild fluorosis.

Today, more than half of the U.S. population lives in communities with fluoridated water, and the CDC considers community water fluoridation “1 of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century,” benefiting young and old, rich and poor alike. It’s similar to drinking milk with vitamin D, baking with enriched flour, or even using iodized salt.

Fluoride and Teeth

So how does fluoride actually protect teeth? It does it by helping to remineralize weakened tooth enamel and reverse the early signs of tooth decay. Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste gives a topical benefit, while fluoride from foods and drinks serves as an ongoing benefit by becoming part of your saliva, where it can provide continual remineralization.

For more details about how this works, check out this short video:

The Right Level of Fluoride: A Delicate Balance

As was the case in Colorado Springs a hundred years ago, it’s definitely possible to have too much fluoride. This is why it’s important to spit after brushing with a fluoride toothpaste instead of swallowing and only use tiny amounts of toothpaste when brushing the teeth of babies and small children, if any. It’s also why fluoridated water supplies maintain the level at a very low 0.7-1.2 parts per million. Using more fluoride than the recommended amounts won’t increase the positive effects, but avoiding it entirely will make it harder to prevent cavities.

Ask Us About Fluoride

There’s a lot of information out there about fluoride, and not all of it is from credible sources like the ADA and CDC. If you have any questions, feel free to ask! We want to make sure our patients are confident and informed about the tools they have to keep their teeth healthy and strong!

The Hazards of Oral Piercings

From clothing to hairstyle to cosmetics to accessories, our personal style is how we portray who we are, and this can include piercings.

However, where clothing and hairstyles are very rarely health risks (we hope), the same isn’t true of piercings. Oral piercings, specifically, pose several risks to healthy teeth and gums.

Risks of Tongue and Lip Rings

No piercing is entirely safe. Even basic earlobe piercings aren’t entirely risk-free, as they can become infected or there may be an allergic reaction to the metal. The same risks apply to oral piercings, but there are also additional ones with those.

  • Damage from fidgeting: it’s difficult to resist fidgeting with any foreign object in the mouth, but doing that with a tongue or lip piercing can result in chipped or cracked teeth, damage to fillings, and injuries to the soft tissues of the gums, lips, or tongue.
  • Nerve damage: tongue piercings can cause temporary or even permanent numbness in the tongue because of nerve damage, which can affect speech, chewing, and even sense of taste.
  • Gum recession: a piercing can wear gum tissue away by friction, exposing the roots of the teeth and leaving them much more vulnerable to decay.
  • Infection: many species of bacteria live in our mouths. We can control them with good oral hygiene, but piercings bring that bacteria much closer to the bloodstream, which can result in pain, swelling, and infection.
  • X-ray trouble: piercings show up very brightly on X-rays, and they can obscure important areas, making it easier for cavities to go undetected.
  • Drooling: foreign objects in the mouth stimulate the salivary glands. Piercings can trick them into working overtime, producing a lot of drool.

Oral Piercings and Braces Do Not Mix

The risks are even greater for orthodontic patients, because it doesn’t take much for a piercing to get tangled up in the orthodontic hardware. If this happens, it can damage the braces and cause injuries around the piercing site. We strongly urge orthodontic patients to wait until their treatment is over before getting an oral piercing.

How to Properly Care for a Piercing

We’re not here to forbid our patients from ever getting these types of piercings, we just want to be sure they are fully informed of the risks involved. If it still seems like a good idea, it’s also important to know the ways to manage those risks. Being diligent with oral hygiene is the most obvious one, but there are others too. None are as effective as removing or never getting the piercings, but they do make a difference:

  • Clean the piercing site after every meal or snack to prevent bacteria and food debris from building up.
  • Remove all piercings during physical activity like sports to minimize the risk of injury.
  • Check that the piercing is secure so that it can’t come loose and become a choking hazard.
  • Go to the dentist at the first sign of infection, including symptoms like swelling, pain, or unusual redness, as well as chills, fever, or shaking.
  • Don’t click the piercing against your teeth. Be very gentle with how you move it so that it doesn’t cause chips and cracks.

Your Oral Health Is Our Top Priority

We’re always here to help our patients maintain healthy teeth and gums, which is why we’re not the biggest fans of oral piercings. To learn more about how a piercing can impact your oral health or how you can minimize these risks, just give us a call or drop by our practice!

Bleeding Gums: Causes and Treatment

Bleeding gums are the most common symptom of gum disease, but that’s not the only thing that can cause this problem.

Let’s take a closer look at bleeding gums, the various causes, and what we can do about it.

Gingivitis and Periodontitis

Over time, plaque (a sticky, bacteria-filled film that coats our teeth) builds up along our gumlines if we aren’t careful enough in our brushing and flossing routines. Eventually, plaque hardens into tartar, which irritates the gums, making them more likely to bleed and leading to gingivitis, or the early stage of gum disease.

More advanced gum disease is periodontitis, where the infection impacts the jaw and supportive tissues connecting the teeth to the gums as well as the gums themselves. Tooth loss is a major concern at this stage, so don’t let it get this far!

Vitamin C and K Deficiencies

If your gums are bleeding but you don’t have gum disease, ask your doctor to check your vitamin C and K levels, and make sure you’re including good sources of these vitamins in your diet, such as: citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers for vitamin C, and watercress, kale, spinach, lettuce, mustard greens, soybeans, and olive oil for vitamin K.

Overbrushing Damages Gum Tissue

It’s also possible (though uncommon) to damage gum tissue to the point of bleeding (and worse) simply by brushing too hard. Remember when you’re brushing that you aren’t cleaning out tile grout; you’re cleaning soft, living tissue, and gentle brushing is enough. It’s best to use a brush with soft bristles. One way you know you’re probably brushing too hard is if the bristles quickly become bent outward.

A New Flossing Routine

Sometimes flossing for the first time in a while can cause a little bleeding, but this is no reason to stop flossing. The bleeding should clear up after a few days if there isn’t another cause, but make sure that you’re gentle on your gums when you floss. You want to get beneath the gumline, but avoid pulling straight towards the gums when getting between your teeth. Instead, work your way down carefully with a back-and-forth motion.

Protecting Your Gum Health

The first step to having healthy gums is good dental hygiene. This includes twice-daily brushing for a full two minutes with that soft-bristled toothbrush, daily flossing, and twice-yearly visits to the dentist. A good way to soothe tender gums is by swishing with warm salt water (but don’t swallow it). You might also want to consider switching to an electric toothbrush. They’re better at cleaning and you’re less likely to brush too hard with them.

Let the Dentist Take a Look

If you’ve noticed your gums bleeding when you brush or if they’ve felt sore or swollen lately, the first thing to do is to schedule a dental appointment. The dentist can determine what the source of the problem is and recommend the right next steps to take to get back to great gum health!

Conquering Dental Anxiety

We all know, logically, that going to the dentist is a safe, normal, and important part of staying healthy.

However, many of us don’t find it particularly fun to lie flat on our backs while someone pokes around our teeth and gums. For some people, the very thought of visiting the dentist fills them with anxiety, and it could even be a full-blown phobia. That’s why we’d like to put our focus on helping our patients overcome their dental anxieties and fears.

Dental Anxiety Statistics: You Are Not Alone

Fear of going to the dentist is fairly common, with an estimated nine to 15 percent of Americans completely avoiding visiting the dentist because of anxiety and fear. That means up to 40 million Americans are taking a serious gamble with their dental health. Putting off a basic twice-a-year cleaning out of fear leaves patients much more susceptible to tooth decay and painful infection. It’s always better (for your wallet as well as your health) to view dental care as preventative, not just reactive.

Why Does Dental Anxiety Happen?

A lot of people who avoid the dentist due to dental anxiety or fear do so because of a previous negative experience they had that soured them on the concept of dentistry altogether. The feeling of not being in control is another reason people might be nervous. We understand this, and we’re dedicated to helping our patients feel comfortable so that they can move forward with the right professional oral health care to keep their teeth strong and healthy for life.

History and Pop Culture Skew Versus Modern Dentistry

If you’re worried about going to the dentist, that might be because history and pop culture have given you the wrong idea. Before World War II made anesthetics the norm, dental procedures were uncomfortable, to say the least. The field has come a long way since then, even though movies and TV haven’t done much to update cultural expectations. Modern dental offices maintain a high standard of comfort and care for patients.

Tips for Overcoming Dental Anxiety

There are a few things you can do to reduce your dental anxiety.

  • Come visit our practice before your appointment, especially if this is your first time coming in. Familiarize yourself with our space and members of our staff so that it doesn’t seem so foreign on appointment day. You might even want to bring someone you trust along with you.
  • Learn as much as you can about what happens in a typical dental appointment. If you take away the mystery, it will help you regain a sense of control.
  • Talk to us about your anxiety. When we know this is something you struggle with, there’s more we can do to help you.
  • Bring a distraction like headphones and a playlist of relaxing music to your appointment.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Dental Professionals

Your care and comfort are our top priorities. If you or someone in your family struggles with dental anxiety and it’s interfering with getting needed dental care, we’d love to schedule a time for you to come to our practice so that you can get used to the facility and get to know our team. We can answer any questions you may have.

The Impact of Diabetes on Teeth and Gums

One of the most common complications of diabetes is gum disease, and that isn’t the only way diabetes is hard on teeth.

Diabetes and oral health have a close relationship. If the diabetes isn’t carefully controlled, it will be much harder to maintain good oral health, and vice versa.

What Does Blood Sugar Have to Do with Oral Health?

You’ve probably already heard that sugar is bad for oral health. The harmful bacteria in our mouths love to eat leftover sugar stuck to our teeth after we enjoy a tasty treat. Unfortunately, high blood sugar is just as delicious to harmful oral bacteria. High blood sugar also weakens the immune system, making that same bacteria harder to fight. This leaves diabetic patients more vulnerable to tooth decay and oral inflammation.

Diabetes and Gum Disease

An estimated 22 percent of diabetics (both type 1 and type 2) have gum disease. It might only be in the early stages of inflammation (gingivitis) or it might be much more advanced (periodontitis), threatening the health of the teeth, gums and even the supporting bone. If the bacteria causing the gum disease makes its way into the bloodstream, it can threaten overall health too.

Symptoms of gum disease include red, swollen, or bleeding gums, bad breath, gum recession, and looser teeth. Other problems associated with diabetes can also increase the risk of gum disease, such as dry mouth, impaired ability to heal, burning mouth syndrome, more frequent and severe infections, enlargement of salivary glands, and fungal infections.

How to Fight Back Against Diabetes

Fortunately, good oral health is still achievable even for patients struggling with diabetes, and maintaining good oral health will make it easier to keep good control over diabetes. Brush twice a day for two full minutes with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, be careful with sugar intake, and avoid smoking. If you’re doing all of this and scheduling your recommended number of yearly dental appointments, you’ll be on the right track!

How Diabetes Can Impact Orthodontic Treatment

We want everyone to have healthy, properly aligned smiles, but gum disease can make it difficult or impossible to begin or continue orthodontic treatment. That’s why it’s even more crucial for diabetics who are current orthodontic patients or who are considering orthodontic treatment to maintain careful control of their diabetes and their oral health.

Take Advantage of Good Resources

We want to emphasize the importance of those regular dental visits. The dentist can recognize warning signs before you can and recommend adjustments to the daily oral hygiene routine before any problems can get worse. The dentist and the doctor can also work as a team to help keep you, your teeth, and your gums healthy — just make sure to keep them both up to date!

How Smoking Affects Oral Health

We’ve all heard over and over how smoking can adversely impact health, with the most infamous example being lung cancer.

But smoking doesn’t only harm the lungs; it damages every single system in the body, and it also damages oral health.

Smoking Increases the Risk of Oral Cancer

Like we said before, lung cancer tends to get all the attention when it comes to consequences of smoking, but four out of every five people diagnosed with oral cancer smoke or chew tobacco. Early symptoms of oral cancer include persistent mouth sores or pain, unusual white patches, swelling, numbness, difficulty chewing or swallowing, and a sensation of having something stuck in the throat.

What Is Smoker’s Keratosis?

The weirdest effect smoking can have on oral health is that it can cause white patches to develop on the roof of the mouth. These patches are smoker’s keratosis (or stomatitis nicotina). This condition is still something of a medical mystery, but the current theory is that the white patches are caused by inflamed mucous glands. While they typically aren’t painful, they can be pre-cancerous.

Smoking Makes Gum Disease More Likely

As many as half of adults older than 30 have some form of gum disease, and smoking doubles the risk of developing it and makes it harder to treat. Gum disease, if left untreated, can lead to serious damage to the gingiva (gum tissue), bone loss in the jaw, and tooth loss. In severe cases, it can even be life-threatening if the bacteria in the mouth gets into the bloodstream through inflamed gums.

What About Vaping?

Vaping or smoking e-cigarettes is often portrayed as a much healthier option to traditional smoking, but the vapor still contains nicotine and ultra-fine toxic chemicals and heavy metals. The nicotine itself reduces blood flow, affecting teeth and gums, potentially causing gum recession and death of gum tissue. It can also reduce saliva, leading to dry mouth (which causes all kinds of problems from bad breath to tooth decay), and it can trigger teeth grinding, which damages teeth.

Secondhand Smoke Isn’t Safe Either

Sometimes smokers will claim that they’re not hurting anyone else with their habit, and they’re willing to accept the risks to their own health. Unfortunately, this is not accurate. Studies have suggested a link between cavities (in baby teeth and adult teeth) and regular exposure to secondhand smoke. The broader health risks are especially serious for small children and infants, including infections, asthma attacks, and even SIDS.

The Benefits of Quitting

Someone who has smoked for decades might think that quitting can’t do anything to improve their health, so why bother? It turns out that even people with a long history of smoking can significantly improve their health outlook by quitting. Obviously it’s better not to start smoking in the first place, but it’s never too late to quit!

Take Advantage of the Resources Around You

Quitting an addictive habit isn’t easy, but smokers who need help quitting are not alone. Some of the best resources are the support of family, friends, and counselors. There’s also a lot of great information available online, and the dentist is another great resource. If you are a smoker, make sure to schedule regular dental exams (sometimes more than two a year) to keep your mouth healthy!

Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby

Pregnancy is an exciting time for any woman, but it is also full of a seemingly endless list of do’s and don’ts. Thankfully, there have been incredible advancements in the dental field that help make your dental experience while you’re expecting more pleasant.

Between morning sickness and the excitement of pregnancy, it can be challenging to focus on your homecare routine, but it is never more critical than when you’re pregnant. Your body is working for two, and the link between gingivitis and systemic illnesses suggest that untreated gum disease can affect the health of your unborn baby as well as lower your already compromised immune system. Slacking on brushing and flossing has even been linked to gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and premature delivery.

Gingivitis, Cavities and Pregnancy Tumors, Oh My!

When you’re expecting, your body and mind undergo many physical and emotional changes. The level of the hormone progesterone soars during pregnancy, and gum tissue may overreact to plaque, causing severe inflammation in the gums, resulting in a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. It’s estimated that as many as half of all pregnant women develop pregnancy gingivitis. Symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis include bad breath and swollen, red, sensitive gums that bleed easily.

Pregnant women also have an increased risk of tooth decay due to morning sickness. Up to 50% of women have some symptoms of morning sickness. Increased exposure to acids due to vomiting can wear away tooth enamel making it easier for bacteria to break through.

Another issue some women experience during pregnancy is pregnancy tumors. Don’t worry, they sound scary, but aren’t really cancerous. It’s a name for an overgrowth of gum tissue around or in between teeth that looks worse than it is. They can be difficult to brush and floss around, but they usually go away after childbirth.

Prevention

Due to the increased risks during pregnancy, your dentist may recommend an extra cleaning and exam to remove any excess plaque buildup and check for any cavities. They may also suggest some changes to your homecare routine. Be diligent about brushing and flossing at least twice a day and be sure to brush after bouts of morning sickness or gargle with warm salt water. A healthy, colorful diet that is low in excess sugar and carbohydrates can not only help prevent gestational diabetes but can also reduce plaque buildup.

Treatment and Safety

If you need dental treatment like a filling or a crown while you’re pregnant, it’s never been a better time to have it done. Most dentists agree that it is riskier to put off necessary dental work than to have it done during pregnancy. Still, many women have concerns about dental treatment during pregnancy.

Technology has made great strides in the dental field and today’s procedures and medications are more gentle and safer than ever before. Many dentists recommend having any dental work done during the second trimester when most cases of morning sickness subside and before it becomes too uncomfortable to lay on your back for long periods of time during the third trimester.

Thanks to today’s digital x-rays, the exposure to radiation is lower than ever, and the added reassurance of a lead apron that covers your abdomen and neck reduces your exposure even further.

Dental anesthetic is also safe for use during pregnancy, and there are several types available. A 2015 study published in The Journal of the American Dental Association showed that anesthetic, like the commonly used Lidocaine, caused no ill effects to the fetus.

If you need work done during your third trimester, your dentist may decide to wait until after your baby is born. Remember that you can always talk with your dental team and express any concerns and ask any questions. If you’re experiencing stress, chances are your baby can feel it, too. Pregnancy can be hard enough, but with a little help from your dentist and their team, maintaining your oral health can be one thing that’s easy to deliver.