Giving birth to and rearing a child is one of most joyful miracles that can happen to a person. Having a child completely changes both of the child’s parents lives instantly and forever. It is literally a life-altering experience. That’s why it makes so much sense to take the birth of a child so seriously. That’s also another reason why serious dental issues for the mother during pregnancy can be so alarming and worrisome.
Even though dental anesthesia is appropriate to use during a pregnancy, it is still the rule of thumb to avoid any medications (including painkillers and antibiotics) unless they are absolutely necessary. This practice is enacted to avoid any unforeseen complications or side effects that can occur to the baby or pregnant mother. Luckily, there are a number of approved painkillers or antibiotics, such as paracetamol or amoxicillin, that your dentist can prescribe a pregnant mother if needed.
Everybody knows that treatments for serious dental issues, such as tooth extractions and root canals, can be extremely painful and intrusive. This is why these treatments are almost always performed with anesthesia. But is using dental anesthesia during pregnancy safe?
This concern is a very common and reasonable one. Various types of drugs are known to cross the placental barrier and can affect the developing baby. Therefore, it makes complete sense why there would be a fear amongst dentists and parents of the possibility that dental anesthesia could negatively compromise the unborn child’s health. Unfortunately, most common dental anesthesias such as lidocaine can indeed cross the placental barrier if used on a pregnant mother.
As a result of this fact, dental practitioners would never consider using anesthesia unless absolutely necessary in the past. However, treating serious dental conditions without the required anesthesia caused an incredible amount of stress and strain on the pregnant mother. This stress was eventually linked to increasing the chances of premature childbirth! Once this factor was discovered, dentists started to use adequate amounts of dental anesthesia on pregnant mothers to provide the most stress and pain-free environment for major dental procedures such as tooth extractions or root canal treatments.
It is extremely important to avoid as many complications as possible during any pregnancy. This fact still holds true when it comes to cavities. While many of us don’t think of cavities as major dental issues, they certainly can become much more severe if not treated early and appropriately. This is why it is highly recommended to get all of your cavities filled even if you are pregnant. Doing this will prevent the cavities from becoming more serious conditions or emergencies that have to get fixed by intensive procedures such as tooth extractions or root canal treatments. This will also likely lead the pregnant mother to have to take previously unnecessary medications or anesthesia if the tooth decay is allowed to progress too far.
It is important to note that cavities and other types of tooth decay can actually progress much faster during pregnancies. This is due to increased food being lodged in the mouth because of inflamed gums and also because of changes in the oral microbiome (bacterial/micro-organism populations) that make the mouth more susceptible to tooth decay.
If you or a loved one is pregnant and you are concerned about the use of dental anesthesia during pregnancy, please contact us any time at Gables Sedation and Family Dentistry. Let’s help take care of your mouth while minimizing any effects on the unborn baby!