During pregnancy, the body goes through changes both mentally and physically. Hormones can affect the mouth and teeth in various ways and many women experience an increase in cavities during this time as it can be more difficult to maintain healthy teeth and mouth cleaning plans, particularly when experiencing morning sickness symptoms.
Many pregnant women are unsure of how to handle their health and medical needs while they’re expecting. One question that often arises is whether or not it’s safe to visit an orthodontist during pregnancy.
While it’s generally safe for pregnant women to visit an orthodontist, there are a few precautions and considerations that should be taken into account to make orthodontics during pregnancy safe.
When to Start Visiting an Orthodontist When Pregnant
While pregnant you should wait until the second trimester to start engaging in orthodontic visits since this is when morning sickness starts declining and hormone levels stabilize.
By waiting until the second trimester, you will also be able to avoid any treatments that may require more invasive procedures that could potentially put your pregnancy at risk. This is also true nearer to the due date when you should avoid having any treatment that may interfere with your well-being or the health of your unborn child.
Braces can be safely worn through the second trimester and beyond, provided there are no issues such as gum disease or morning sickness that could complicate the treatment.
Visiting an orthodontist is a great time to discuss any concerns you may have regarding pregnancy and oral health so that they can keep an eye on it throughout your pregnancy journey.
See our article: Is 40 too old for braces? Does a Patient’s Age Matter?
General Discomfort – Are Braces More Painful During Pregnancy?
If you are pregnant and considering braces, it is natural to wonder whether you will experience extra discomfort. While some people report heightened sensitivity during pregnancy, this can be beneficial for the orthodontic procedure as your teeth may move more quickly.
In any case, having braces during pregnancy is certainly manageable with adequate preparation and consideration.
Orthodontists can prescribe special orthodontic wax to lessen the discomfort of the braces, or suggest other methods such as elastics or spacers that may be more comfortable while you are pregnant.
Orthodontics During Pregnancy – What you Should do if you Plan to Wear Braces or Aligners?
An orthodontist should be consulted first, as they will evaluate if the treatment is possible, and provide the most suitable timeline for it.
Braces can be worn safely during pregnancy because each material used to make them is safe. The process of “tightening” braces and making adjustments should typically be avoided during the first trimester and final trimester to minimize pressure on your gums due to hormonal changes.
Additionally, depending on which orthodontic appliance you choose, there may be issues with fit as your mouth and teeth change throughout your pregnancy.
Careful follow-up with a dentist or an orthodontist every 6-8 weeks is essential; periodic adjustments are important between visits so that everything remains comfortable.
See our article: Top Teeth Straightening Options.
What Changes can Pregnancy Cause in Your Teeth?
During pregnancy, mothers-to-be may experience changes to their oral health. Hormonal changes can cause tooth decay, and the increased presence of progesterone can cause the loosening of the teeth in their sockets. Additionally, there is an increased susceptibility to gum disease due to elevated levels of plaque-causing bacteria.
While these are normal and should be monitored by a dentist during prenatal visits, practicing good dental care and taking calcium supplements as recommended by doctors can help practice prevention while expecting.
How to Care for Teeth During Pregnancy
Proper teeth care is essential for maintaining excellent oral health. Daily brushing and flossing are key to helping prevent the accumulation of bacteria and plaque that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Additionally, consider adding warm salt water rinses to your oral health routine two or three times a week as they work to reduce inflammation in the gums while supporting general mouth hygiene.
Diet – What to Eat?
A balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, dairy products, and healthy fats is essential to promoting good oral hygiene. Make sure to include moderate amounts of phosphorus-rich foods such as milk, beans, and nuts which will help protect tooth enamel from damaging acidity.
Additionally, when consuming sugar-filled snacks or meals that contain carbohydrate-rich food, be sure to drink plenty of water afterward as this will help reduce the accumulation of plaque on your teeth and prevent decay. Snacking is to be expected during pregnancy but try to opt for nutritious snacks that are high in protein like yogurt or cheese.
Consider the Alternative to Braces
For pregnant mothers considering an orthodontic treatment like braces, there may be an alternative option they should consider: aligners.
Aligners are increasingly becoming the preferred treatment for orthodontic misalignment due to their less-invasive nature and shorter treatment times. This means fewer appointments and a much shorter recovery period when compared to traditional braces.
Not only that, but some studies have even indicated that aligners may be effective for treating gestational misalignment as well.
Additionally, since no metal parts or wires are used in the process, many women see this as a more aesthetically-pleasing option during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Invisible aligners are the preferred choice for most as they are a great way to increase confidence, particularly when pregnant, and are a very affordable and efficient solution for teeth care.
Here are some reviews of the best available invisible aligners:
NewSmile Review – A low-cost option that comes with premium aesthetics, a free retainer, and a tooth whitening kit.
SmileDirectClub Review – The most popular choice, this product has a lifetime guarantee and a free one-time replacement agreement. This aligner has the best 3D scanning process.
Byte Review – The best pick and the most affordable option. A lifetime guarantee for peace of mind and a free HyperBite and teeth whitening kit are on offer.
Candid Review – The most similar product to Invisalign Aligners this product has excellent reviews. Hybrid in-office care is offered too.
ALIGNERCO – The cheapest with a zero deposit option for monthly payment plans. A seasonal discount offer is in place on aligner packages at $945.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I go to the Orthodontist During Pregnancy?
It is encouraged that you should attend dental appointments during the pregnancy as your hormones can change and affect gums and teeth more.
A high level of dental hygiene will be needed throughout the pregnancy.
What Dental Work Cannot Be Done During Pregnancy?
While regular checkups and preventative treatments can still be done, certain procedures should be postponed until after the baby is born unless of an urgent nature.
These include whitening treatments, deep cleanings, and an ultrasonic scaler procedure.
Is it Okay to Take an X-Ray During Pregnancy?
The risk to the baby of having an X-Ray in the mouth during pregnancy is considered to be very low. Dentists believe the risk that does exist is much smaller than the risk of not having proper dental treatment for your teeth and gums.
X-Rays can still be performed but wait until after your first and before your last trimesters. Your orthodontist will provide you with a lead apron to wear when getting your x-ray to protect the abdomen area from any radiation as an added precaution.
An Article by the International Atomic Energy Agency states that the risk to the fetus from a few parts of radiation exposure arising from any dental radiographic procedures is extremely small.
Do Braces Work Faster During Pregnancy?
There is research that shows that when you are pregnant your teeth move more easily than normal so it is a good time to have braces to benefit from this and gain a quicker resolution to teeth straightening issues.