What do you do when your pearly whites aren’t so white anymore? Though there are several treatments for teeth whitening in Greenville, SC, dentists believe that prevention is still better than cure. (more…)
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Unhealthy habits, aging, injuries, and failure to properly care for teeth can all result in tooth loss. The more teeth a person loses, the more damaging the consequences become. Not only can tooth loss cause discomfort, it could also hinder people from performing necessary functions such as chewing and speaking. Furthermore, missing teeth and unsightly gaps can be seen as physically unattractive, which can affect a person’s self-esteem. (more…)
We get approached with several questions regarding receiving dental care during pregnancy, we wanted to dispel some of the myths which may be out there.
Q: Is It Safe to Visit the Dentist While Pregnant
A: Yes! Visiting your dentist during pregnancy is not only safe, but recommended.
Various changes in the body during pregnancy, such as rising hormone levels (which can irritate the gums), can cause an increased risk of dental problems. According to the American Pregnancy Association, “Preventive dental work while pregnant is essential to avoid oral infections such as gum disease, which has been linked to preterm birth”. Some pregnant women may wish to receive more frequent dental cleanings to control increased plaque and maintain optimum oral health.
Make sure to let your dentist know that you are pregnant. The dentist will be able to provide the safest and most comfortable treatment for you if aware of your pregnancy.
Q: Should I have dental procedures performed during my pregnancy?
A: When a pregnant woman has untreated cavities or oral infection, there is an increased risk to both the mother and developing child. Dental work such as a filling or crown can decrease the risk of developing an infection.
An expecting mother may experience a dental emergency that requires urgent care. In such cases, a root canal or tooth extraction may be performed to relieve intense discomfort. A dental x-ray will be used to diagnose and effectively treat these problems. According to the American College of Radiology, “no single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus”. Extra precautions will be made to limit the risk to the mother and baby in these cases.
Q: When is the best time to have non-emergent dental treatment during pregnancy?
A: Elective dental treatment (i.e. tooth whitening and other cosmetic procedures) should be postponed until after pregnancy. Other dental treatment as needed is most safely performed between the second trimester and the first half of the third trimester of pregnancy. This window of time minimizes risk to fetal organ formation during the first trimester (when dental drugs and anesthesia are best avoided) and increased physical discomfort that the mother may experience from laying on her back late in pregnancy.
Q: Are dental x-rays safe during pregnancy?
A: Advances in x-ray equipment have drastically reduced the amount of radiation exposure for both patients and healthcare workers. However, for pregnant women, dentists limit the use of x-ray treatment to dental emergencies. Routine x-rays are postponed until after pregnancy.
Q: Are dental drugs and anesthesia safe during pregnancy?
A: The most common drugs that dentists may use for pregnant women are antibiotics (to treat infection) and Lidocaine (a numbing medication).
Antibiotics such as penicillin, amoxicillin, and clindamycin, which are labeled category B for safety in pregnancy, are commonly used while other, less safe, antibiotics are typically avoided.
Lidocaine, also a category B drug, does cross the placenta after administration to a pregnant woman. There has been conflict in the medical community concerning the degree of risk during pregnancy. The dentist will use as little Lidocaine as possible to make you comfortable during your dental procedure. If you are experiencing pain, additional Lidocaine can be used. Dentists agree that the benefit of receiving needed dental work, and the reduced maternal stress experienced when a modest amount of Lidocaine is used outweigh the risks of its usage.
Q: How can I care for my teeth at home while I’m pregnant?
A: Follow good oral hygiene procedures to prevent a condition called prenancy gingivitis–including brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. You should use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste containing flouride, and brush for a minimum of two minutes to remove plaque from your teeth.
Some women who experience morning sickness may develop an aversion to the flavor of their toothpaste. Talk to your dentist or dental hygienist about some brands of toothpaste that are more bland and less likely to cause tooth brushing to be an unpleasant experience. If you do have vomiting alongside morning sickness, it is important to rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash to maintain good oral health.
Pregnancy can cause cravings for sugary foods. You should enjoy sweet foods in moderation due to the increased risk of tooth decay. Some studies even suggest that the bacteria responsible for tooth decay are passed between mother and unborn child. On the converse, dairy products and other healthy snacks are good for the baby’s developing teeth, gums, and bones. An unborn baby’s teeth start to develop around the third month of pregnancy, so keep in mind that what you eat affects his/her dental health as well.
For a free, printable entitled “Oral Health During Pregnancy” authored by the American Dental Association, click here:
Oral health is a window to your general health! Did you know that many diseases first manifest in the mouth? Serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer have associated oral symptoms such as swollen or bleeding gums, ulcers, dry mouth, bad breath, and metallic taste. If your dentist detects these or other signs of disease, he may refer you to a medical doctor for evaluation–a visit to your dentist could save your life!
Conditions in the mouth can affect the rest of the body as well. When proper brushing and flossing techniques are not utilized, this can cause build-up of normal oral bacteria. The body’s immune system responds to the increase in bacteria with swelling, and this in turn can cause problems elsewhere in the body; infection from dental bacteria can travel elsewhere in the body, leading to serious illness. Research is currently underway that explores the possible mouth-body connection in rheumatoid arthritis, certain lung conditions, pre-term labor in pregnant women, and obesity.
Certain diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and HIV/AIDS are commonly associated with increased dental problems. Although proper dental care is important for the general population, individuals with these conditions may need to visit the dentist more often for routine and restorative care.
- The Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dental/DE00001
- WebMD.com http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/oral-health-the-mouth-body-connection
- The American Dental Association http://www.ada.org/2574.aspx
For a free print-out, see the Delta Dental Insurance website here http://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/connection-oral-health.pdf
Did you know that dental decay is the most common chronic disease among children?
The American Dental Association and the Ad Council have developed a new campaign aimed to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of a healthy mouth.
Click on the link below to learn how to help change your child’s behaviors through simple, low-cost, preventative strategies!
Last week was a very busy week at Downtown Dental. After construction was completed, we had lots of unpacking, organizing, and setting up to do! Everyone involved put in countless hours to ensure Downtown Dental looked great for our patients. A special thank you to all the patients that made our first week a success. Stay tuned for some new interior photos.
Dr. Kenna with Downtown Dental’s FIRST patient
Downtown Dental’s sign was installed today! The sign has been ready for about a month, but we have been waiting on the city to approve everything. We received the go ahead on Friday and Scott Broome and his team from Broome Signs were able to install it today. It was a nice surprise to see them there! We are still on schedule to open on June 25th.
Hi everyone. Things are starting to get really exciting for Downtown Dental! We are less than two months from opening! We are pushing to be ready for our patients during the week of June 25th. The office is coming along nicely and the sheetrock is going up! It is starting to actually look like a dental office. We cannot wait to start helping our patients in this amazing location! Stay tuned!