Your mouth can be affected by the hormonal changes you will experience during pregnancy. For example, some women develop a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” an inflammation of the gums that can cause swelling and tenderness. Your gums also may bleed a little when you brush or floss. Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious forms of gum disease. Your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings to prevent this.
Some drugs can be used during and after dental treatment to make you more comfortable. Inform your dentist of any prescription or over-the-counter drug you are taking. This will help your dentist determine what type of drug, if any, will be prescribed for you. Your dentist can consult with your physician to determine the drugs—such as painkillers or antibiotics—you may safely take during the pregnancy. Discuss any concerns with your dentist and physician. Both are concerned about you and your baby.
Be sure to talk with your dentist about how to properly secure and dispose of any unused, unwanted or expired medications, especially if there are any children in the household. Also, take the time to talk with your children about the dangers of using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes.
It’s possible you’ll need an X-ray if you suffer a dental emergency or need a dental problem diagnosed. Although, radiation from dental X-rays is extremely low, your dentist or hygienist will cover you with a leaded apron that minimizes exposure to the abdomen. Your dental office will also cover your throat with a leaded thyroid collar to protect the thyroid from radiation.
In some women, overgrowths of tissue called “pregnancy tumors” appear on the gums, most often during the second trimester. These non-cancerous growths or swellings are usually found between the teeth and are believed to be related to excess plaque. They bleed easily and have a red, raw-looking raspberry-like appearance. They usually disappear after your baby is born, but if you are concerned, talk to your dentist about removing them. If you notice pregnancy tumors or any other changes in your mouth during pregnancy, see your dentist.