Kate's Fear of TMJ

Oral Health Concerns During Pregnancy

Because of the way that hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy impact your dental health, you'll want to pay particular attention to your teeth and gums during these nine months. The following will show you what to look out for during this time and what you should do.

Problems You Might Experience

Pregnancy Gingivitis: Higher levels of progesterone can cause gingivitis (inflammation in the gums). Combined with changes to your immune system caused by the pregnancy, this can result in swollen and red gums. Some pregnant women also experience bleeding from their gums when they floss or brush their teeth. However, the symptoms will usually disappear after your child is born.

Gum Disease: For some pregnant women, their gum issues become more serious and turn into gum disease (also known as periodontal disease). In gum disease, infections develop when bacteria attack the gum below the gum line. This can cause damage to the tissues that help hold your teeth in place. Unfortunately, gum disease can also have a negative impact on the health of the unborn child, increasing the chance of a low birth weight baby.

Pregnancy Granuloma: Some pregnant women experience a red growth along the upper part of their gums known as a pregnancy granuloma. This is a nodular growth that has a tendency to bleed and then crust over. Although not dangerous, they are uncomfortable and can affect how you eat and speak. They usually appear during the second trimester and go away after your child is born.

Mouth Dryness: Pregnant women often have dry mouth because of a decrease in the production of saliva. Dry mouth can in turn increase the chance of other dental problems. Occasionally chewing a sugar-free gum can help.

Loss of Tooth Enamel: As a result of the morning sickness and vomiting that many pregnant women experience, there is a chance that they will also see a loss of tooth enamel. The more vomiting they do, the more likely this is to occur.

Other Considerations

Let your dentist, like those at Dentalcare Associates, know that you're pregnant, regardless of how far along you are. That way your dentist can take this into account for any treatments (such as medications, sedatives or x-rays).

Try not to have any major dental procedures during your pregnancy. For any major work to your teeth or gums, it's usually best to wait until after you give birth. But, if you experience come disease, you will want to have this addressed by having your gums and teeth cleaned.

Schedule any dental procedures you are going to have during your second trimester, since your unborn child is most vulnerable during the first and third trimesters.