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Pregnancy and Oral Health
Dr. Leyli Valera, DDS - San Jose, CA

Dr. Valera is happy to serve as a resource for her pregnant patients to keep them as healthy and comfortable as possible throughout their pregnancy, addressing any issues or concerns that may arise.

As pregnancy changes women’s bodies, oral health is no exception. Taking proper care of oral hygiene helps both mother and baby remain healthy throughout pregnancy. Dr. Valera enjoys helping patients maintain proper oral care during this exciting time in their lives, ensuring all their questions and concerns are addressed so they can focus on preparing for their newest family member.

Below are some commonly asked questions about pregnancy and oral health. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Crown Family Dentistry with any additional questions or to talk more about your oral hygiene during pregnancy.

Common Questions about Pregnancy and Oral Health

Is it safe to visit a dentist during pregnancy?

Yes! Regular cleanings and checkups are encouraged every four to six months during your pregnancy to ensure that your gums are clean and there is no irritation or risk of infection.

Women’s bodies become sensitive due to the hormonal changes of pregnancy, and this includes the gums and teeth. Patients should expect gums to bleed a little more during cleaning and flossing while they are pregnant, but this doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong.

Especially in the third trimester, some women might also experience lightheadedness during treatment. Because women’s blood pressure tends to fall during pregnancy, sitting back for a prolonged period of time in the dentist’s chair can cause this lightheadedness—called orthostatic hypotension. It is not a serious concern. If you become lightheaded during treatment, you should sit up, drink a bit of water, and allow your blood pressure to come back. If the problem persists, you can postpone your treatment with no problem.

If you are concerned about a change in your oral health during your pregnancy, call Dr. Valera’s office. She will walk you through the issue and address your concerns.

How can pregnancy affect my oral health?

In addition to sensitive gums and teeth during pregnancy, your gums may swell. This increases the risk of pregnancy gingivitis, which is when plaque irritates the gums and causes them to be tender, red, swollen, and sensitive. For pregnant women, the gum tissues’ reaction to plaque is exaggerated, increasing the risk of gingivitis.

Maintaining proper oral hygiene throughout pregnancy is key to avoiding gum disease. If you do develop gum disease during pregnancy, it’s important to seek treatment right away, as your oral health can have an impact on the health of your baby.

What are pregnancy tumors?

Pregnancy tumors, also known as pyogenic granuloma, are fairly common during the second trimester of pregnancy. Despite the name, these are non-cancerous bumps that appear on the gums and are caused by an overgrowth of tissue due to hormones or irritation. They are not a serious concern.

Pregnancy tumors will often go away without treatment. As needed, they can be treated by Dr. Valera.

What happens if I get a cavity during pregnancy?

If you are pregnant and have an active cavity, there is no reason to worry! Ideally, Dr. Valera will treat it during the second trimester of your pregnancy.

Can I get a local anesthetic during pregnancy?

Yes. While Dr. Valera prefers to push dental work until after pregnancy, if it’s a necessary treatment, pregnant women are able have a local anesthetic. At Crown Family Dentistry, we use Lidocaine, a type of local anesthetic which is safe to use during pregnancy.

What if I develop an infection while I’m pregnant?

An oral infection such as an abscess or toothache, if left unaddressed, can harm a baby or mother. It’s especially important to call Dr. Valera if you’re experiencing signs or symptoms of an infection, or if you have a change in your oral health that is causing concern.

Can I take an antibiotic during pregnancy?

Yes. The two main antibiotics that Crown Family Dentistry would give for a tooth infection are penicillin or clindamycin. These are both considered safe to take during pregnancy.

Can morning sickness during pregnancy hurt the teeth?

Vomiting will put the teeth in contact with a lot of acid, which can cause erosion. If you’re experiencing morning sickness, it’s best to rinse with water and brush your teeth immediately after vomiting. If it is particularly severe, you may ask Dr. Valera for medication for acid reflux.

Will I have a higher risk of cavities after giving birth?

It is a common myth that women have less calcium after giving birth, and thus are more susceptible to cavities. However, there is no evidence to support this. We do know that new mothers often have greater tooth decay. This is caused by a variety of factors resulting from pregnancy—mainly, changes in hormones and oral hygiene. As new mothers depart from their normal routine, not sleeping as well and breastfeeding at all hours, they often let their oral hygiene routine falter. To avoid postpartum dental issues, keep this in mind!

Is it safe to receive x-rays during pregnancy?

Yes. The American Dental Association says that taking digital x-rays is considered safe for pregnant women. However, during pregnancy, Dr. Valera will tend to avoid taking x-rays unless it’s absolutely necessary, such as for a cavity with a risk of infection. She prefers to save all else for after pregnancy, since women’s bodies are very sensitive during this time.

Is it safe to get teeth whitening during pregnancy?

Yes. There is no evidence to show that cosmetic work such as tooth whitening will harm the baby. However, Dr. Valera will always advise to minimize the amount of dental work while pregnant.

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