I never understood why people don't like going to the dentist. A trip to the dental chair has always been relaxing to me. It's a great excuse to lay back, close your eyes, and let someone else do all the work — an every six months, 30 minute vay-cay from your daily responsibilities. But when I had a filling chip during my pregnancy, for the first time in my life, I became nervous about going to the dentist. I had to call my obstetrician and ask is it safe to have dental work done when pregnant? Luckily, she calmed my nerves pretty quickly.
Maintaining your oral hygiene during pregnancy is an important part of your prenatal care. In fact, visiting the dentist is encouraged, even when you're growing a baby. As the American Pregnancy Association pointed out, "preventive dental cleanings and annual exams during pregnancy are not only safe, but are recommended." It could even be argued that pregnancy is the most important time to keep your grill it's cleanest, to avoid conditions like pregnancy gingivitis and the complications that come with it.
While you have the green light for regular dentist visits and cleanings, the deal changes a little if you need to have more invasive work done. If you need to have a procedure performed while pregnant, it's ideal to schedule dental treatments in the second trimester, according to Mayo Clinic. Most commonplace work uses local anesthesia which has been OK'ed for gestational women. This means work such as cavity fillings and crowns can be safely treated in this time period, since the baby's development is far enough along. Treating minor oral ailments usually pose little risk, but you should always consult with your doctor before signing off on a having work done.
But the rules change again if you need more extensive dental work. According to Parents, you should try your best to postpone procedures that require general anesthesia — such as X-rays and oral surgery — and all cosmetic work until after your have your baby. If these are emergency situations, and cannot be avoided, work with your obstetrician and your dentist to determine the safest way to carry out the procedure, and keep you and the baby as protected as possible. As Today pointed out, there may be a way to tailor your dental work while pregnant, so you can avoid parts that may pose more of a threat.
As for me, having a filling replaced while pregnant went off without a hitch. Taking the time to talk with my doctor and dentist not only put my mind at ease, but showed me that my health care providers were in my corner and had the safety of my baby at the forefront of their plans. If you are concerned you won't be able to ignore that aching tooth for nine months, just remember that these moments when you are able to lay back and kick-up your feet are numbered — so you better take advantage of them when you can.