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Oral Surgery Safety Guide for Pregnant People

Oral health is a crucial part of having a healthy pregnancy. Poor mouth health, including gum disease or other low-grade infections, can compromise the immune system of both parent and child. However, any pregnant person knows there are myriad precautions people are supposed to take considering any kind of medical care. What about oral surgery?

We’ll break down the general safety guidelines for oral surgery safety during pregnancy: what’s recommended, what’s not, why, and how to navigate balancing oral health with the health of the parent and baby.

Oral Care that’s Recommended During Pregnancy

Did you know that pregnancy often hurts your oral health? The high levels of progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy can weaken tissues throughout your body. This includes your gums and the bone that hold your teeth in place. That makes pregnant people significantly more susceptible to dental health problems like:

  • Loose teeth
  • Fallen out teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Receding gums
  • Cavities
  • Infections

 

As such, it’s recommended that pregnant people double down on their dental care for those crucial nine months:

  • Brush twice per day
  • Floss at least once per day
  • Mouthwash daily
  • Have a dental exam at the end of each trimester
  • Avoid sugary and acidic foods
  • Drink lots of water

 

If you are planning on getting pregnant, come see us first. That way, if there are any issues that require oral surgery, they can be treated before you become pregnant.

Oral Surgeries that are Safe During Pregnancy

The general recommendation for pregnant people and oral surgery is to limit procedures to necessity only. Basically, if it’s more dangerous to the fetus than it is to your oral health, we will try to wait, monitor and do what we safely can until the pregnancy is over and we can fully treat the problem without threatening the health of parent or child.

However, minor dental procedures can be safe to perform during pregnancy, especially with an oral surgeon skilled at holistic approaches to oral surgery:

  • Fillings/bondings
  • Tooth extractions
  • Root canals
  • Biopsies

 

As a general rule, anything that only requires local anesthesia is likely safe to perform during pregnancy with careful management during the procedure as well as through recovery.

Dental Procedures that are Unsafe During Pregnancy

The more intensive a surgery is, the more anesthesia it requires and the more recovery it entails. And the more elective an oral surgery is, the more likely we are to wait until the pregnancy is over before we perform it. Oral surgeries not recommended for pregnant people include:

  • Procedures that require general anesthesia
  • Procedures that require post-op antibiotics and painkillers
  • Elective procedures
  • X-rays are avoided in the first trimester of pregnancy

 

There are times when there is no other option. For instance, a pregnant person who experiences facial trauma will require maxillofacial surgery to reconstruct their jaw – that’s just the reality. But a patient who needs a dental implant to replace a cavity they got in the first trimester? We will likely extract the tooth, preserve tissue health with a small graft, and wait to do the implant reconstruction.

Oral Surgery Recommendations for Soon-To-Be Parents

Each trimester of a pregnancy is crucial in a different way. The first trimester is the most sensitive time in a pregnancy, full-stop, as more than half spontaneously end before the trimester is up. Second trimester is full of rapid development of crucial organs and structures, but is generally more stable and a better time for any necessary minor work to be done.

You might be surprised to hear that when it comes to oral surgery, the third trimester is something we try to avoid interfering with entirely. At this stage, the pregnancy is very sensitive – you’re dealing with the period of viability, and anything that may disrupt those pre-labor processes can have catastrophic consequences for both parent and child.

In all, we recommend getting ahead of pregnancy-related risks to your oral health by having a comprehensive exam performed by an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon before you conceive. That way not only can you ensure your oral health is at its best before you enter such a sensitive time for your health, but also so a dental professional is familiar with your oral health to monitor those crucial nine months with you.

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