Is it Safe to Undergo Dental X-Rays and Orthodontic Treatment While Pregnant?

Expecting a little bundle of joy is an exciting time in your life, and it is important to take every step possible to protect the health of your developing baby.  After all, you have already implemented lifestyle changes such as abstaining from alcohol and attending regular prenatal appointments.  For this reason, it is common for women to be concerned about having dental x-rays during pregnancy.  As you explore your options, here is what you should know about orthodontic care and your pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a time when taking care of your health takes on a new importance, and this is also true for your oral health care needs.  During pregnancy, your increasing hormones can cause your gums to swell and lead to irritation if food gets caught in between your teeth and wires/braces.  Developing oral health issues, such as cavities, can also leave you vulnerable to infections that could affect your baby.  Healthy teeth are also vital for being able to eat a nutritious diet that supports you and your baby’s needs for their development.  Since oral health can rapidly change during your pregnancy, it is important to work as a team with Dr. Varghese to identify any changes that need to be made to your treatment plan as soon as possible.

There are many things to avoid while you are pregnant, and your doctor probably already gave you a list a mile long that is filled with things you cannot eat or drink.  However, you can rest assured that both the American Dental Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists typically consider a dental x-ray during pregnancy to be safe when proper shielding is provided.  Most of the time, we will postpone the x-ray until after the pregnancy.  Dr. Varghese can talk to you about the necessity of any prescribed x-rays and show you how our shields work to prevent radiation from reaching your baby.  It is also important to note that most orthodontists, including Dr. Varghese, only conduct x-rays when they are medically necessary so the risk of having a rare one performed is very small.

Due to the length of time that orthodontic treatments take, many women wear braces while pregnant.  Typically, your braces should not cause you any additional discomfort during your pregnancy, and they should not hinder your ability to eat a healthy diet.  You may need to balance your orthodontic appointments with your prenatal visits, however, so be sure to plan ahead.  As you progress towards delivery, Dr. Varghese will provide you with more information about maintaining braces during your recovery.

Due to the increased pregnancy hormones that can bother your gums, it is important to follow your oral hygiene routine Dr. Varghese recommends for maintaining braces during your pregnancy.  Make sure to avoid eating sticky sweets, even when you are craving them since they increase the risk of cavities.  You will also need to brush after meals, and be sure to use interdental cleaners to get around your brackets and wires.  If you cannot brush soon after eating, then rinse your mouth out with water to remove any leftover food.  If you wear Invisalign, remember to remove your aligners during meals, and clean them according to your normal routine.  Schedule your routine dental cleanings just as you would when you were not pregnant, although you may need to go more often if you experience any pregnancy-related problems such as gingivitis.

As you advance in your pregnancy, it can be harder to get comfortable when you are sitting for long periods of time. Make sure to let Dr. Varghese know if you need to have the chair adjusted so that you are not lying flat on your back for long periods of time, and you may need to bring a small pillow to provide additional support.  Keep your blood circulating by uncrossing your legs while you are in the chair, and consider bringing some music to serve as a distraction if you find yourself getting antsy.  While most braces procedures are short, you can also talk to Dr. Varghese about taking a quick break so you can stretch your legs during longer visits.

Dr. Varghese has experience working with women who wear braces while pregnant, so he will be more than willing to talk to you about any issues that arise during the next few exciting months.  While having dental x-rays during pregnancy is generally considered safe, we will be able to work with you if you decide to forgo the procedure.  If your braces cause discomfort, we can recommend safe pain management strategies to increase your comfort.  When it comes to your comfort, consider Dr. Varghese a partner in your decision to create a beautiful smile, so be willing to let them know about any issues that arise.

Call us today (630-908-9680) to schedule your complimentary orthodontic exam! ☺

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