Pregnancy and Root Canals – Is It Safe?
One question we receive frequently from pregnant patients is whether various types of dental and endodontic care are safe during pregnancy. Are you facing an upcoming root canal or other dental treatment during pregnancy? Here’s what you need to know.
Is It Safe to Get a Root Canal During Pregnancy?
The short answer is yes: getting a root canal during pregnancy is safe according to the American Dental Association (in consultation with the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists). While certain extra precautions may be necessary, you should not worry about the safety of your baby or yourself should you need dental treatment during pregnancy — including a root canal.
Many pregnant women are concerned about the prospect of needing antibiotics after a procedure like a root canal or about the anesthetics commonly used in dental procedures. Certain antibiotics, including penicillin and amoxicillin, are approved for use during pregnancy, and the same is true of some local anesthetics. Be aware that some anesthetics, though approved, are capable of crossing the placenta.
If you have reservations about anesthetic use, talk with a provider beforehand to discuss options available to you. You may want to request only minimal use of anesthetics, for example.
Here at Largo Endodontics, our staff is well trained in what is and isn’t appropriate for use with pregnant patients. If you know you are pregnant or suspect you may be, simply inform our staff and we will adjust accordingly.
Pregnancy Itself Sometimes Causes Deterioration in Dental Health
It’s important to understand that pregnancy causes many changes in the body. Some of these changes lead to deterioration in dental health for some patients, even at a point where some pregnant patients delay routine care or ignore mild dental symptoms.
Increased hormone levels can lead to dental and gum issues like gingivitis and tooth erosions. The greater draw on the body’s calcium reserves can weaken teeth as well. Gum sensitivity is a common symptom of pregnancy, which can discourage you from brushing and flossing and allow more food to get trapped in your gums.
Your teeth may also be exposed to greater acid levels if you’re battling reflux or pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting (morning sickness).
For all these reasons, it’s critical to continue routine dental exams and cleaning during pregnancy.
Dental X-Rays During Pregnancy
Dental X-rays are another area where pregnant patients often have concerns. While X-rays are also shown to be safe as long as proper precautions are observed, we understand this concern.
If you’re a patient under regular dental care and you’re coming in for a routine check-up and cleaning, we can often skip X-rays during the visit that occurs during your pregnancy.
But for more intensive dental treatment during pregnancy — like a root canal — the X-rays really aren’t optional. Dental providers need to have an accurate picture of the scope of the problem so that they can treat it properly.
Dental X-rays during pregnancy are safe as long as the abdomen and thyroid are properly covered. Again, be sure to notify your endodontic team if you are or suspect you may be pregnant so that they can take the appropriate precautions.
The Cost of Delaying Treatment
If you’re on the fence about pursuing needed endodontic treatment during your pregnancy, we understand. Pregnancy has a unique set of challenges, and dental care is often not front of mind during pregnancy. That said, you should not delay the care that you need.
Consider the cost of delaying treatment. If you need a root canal now, it will not heal on its own. In fact, the underlying damage is likely to get worse if untreated. You could face spreading infection leading to the need for a much more complex dental intervention, and you could even lose the tooth.
Getting treatment during your pregnancy may be inconvenient. But delaying that treatment for multiple months until after birth and recovery can often create a much more serious dental health need.
The Ideal Window for Treatment
If you have an urgent need, you should seek treatment at any point in your pregnancy. That said, care can be difficult late in the third trimester as lying on your back can be logistically challenging.
For known or scheduled procedures, we recommend sticking to the first or second trimesters as the ideal window for treatment.
Largo Endodontics: Your Lifelong Partner for Endodontic Care
Largo Endodontics is your lifelong partner for endodontic care in the Largo, Florida, area and surrounding communities. Dr. Ernest Rillman and his team have been providing top-quality care in the area for many years for patients of all ages and stages of life.
Ready to schedule a visit? Reach out today.