Orthodontics During Pregnancy

Orthodontics During Pregnancy
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Is it safe to have braces put on or adjusted during pregnancy? Can teeth be moved as effectively when a woman is expecting? What if new oral issues or orthodontic emergencies come up – should treatment wait until after birth? These are common questions facing women considering orthodontic work while pregnant.

Orthodontic treatment, involving braces, wires, and other dental appliances to straighten the teeth, is quite common among teenagers and young adults. However, some women pursue orthodontic treatment later in life, even during pregnancy. This raises additional questions about the appropriateness and safety of orthodontic procedures during this unique time.

This article focuses on the safety considerations, benefits, and common misconceptions associated with orthodontics during pregnancy. By shedding light on these aspects, our goal is to provide valuable information to expectant mothers, enabling them to make orthodontic decisions with confidence at this important stage of their lives.

What Changes Can Pregnancy Cause in Your Teeth?

Pregnancy can bring about several changes in oral health, primarily due to hormonal fluctuations and changes in lifestyle habits. One common occurrence is an increase in gum sensitivity and bleeding, known as pregnancy gingivitis, which is caused by hormonal changes leading to an exaggerated response to plaque buildup.

Additionally, pregnant women may experience an increased risk of cavities due to changes in dietary habits, including cravings for sugary foods. Pregnancy can also exacerbate pre-existing dental conditions such as gum disease or tooth decay. Furthermore, hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to the development of pregnancy tumors, which are non-cancerous growths on the gums that typically disappear after giving birth.

Are Braces During Pregnancy Safe?

The safety of wearing braces during pregnancy is a common concern among expectant mothers. While orthodontic treatment during pregnancy is generally considered safe, it is essential to consult with both your obstetrician and your orthodontist to discuss any potential risks and benefits specific to your situation.

Ideally, orthodontic treatment may be initiated before pregnancy or deferred until after giving birth. However, if orthodontic intervention is necessary during pregnancy, your orthodontist will work with you to ensure that the treatment plan is tailored to accommodate the unique needs of your oral health and pregnancy.

See our article: Top Teeth Straightening Options.

Worth Knowing

As most of the patients during pregnancy feel nausea during morning time therefore they should avoid giving the appointments during the morning hours to avoid vomiting episodes during the appointments.

Are Braces More Painful During Pregnancy?

f you are pregnant and considering braces, it is natural to wonder whether you will experience extra discomfort. The experience of wearing braces during pregnancy varies from person to person, and while some women may perceive increased discomfort, it’s not necessarily due to the braces themselves being more painful during pregnancy. Factors such as hormonal changes, increased blood flow, and heightened sensitivity may contribute to a heightened perception of discomfort.

However, braces typically cause discomfort during the initial adjustment period after they are placed or adjusted, regardless of whether the individual is pregnant. 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 that may be more comfortable while you are pregnant.

What Is the Best Time to Visit an Orthodontist While Pregnant

Now that we understand orthodontic treatment is safe during pregnancy, it’s essential to consider the best timing for orthodontic visits while expecting. The second trimester is often cited as the most suitable time for such visits. During the first trimester, the risk of pregnancy-related complications is higher, and many women experience nausea and fatigue, which can make dental appointments more challenging. By the second trimester, these early symptoms typically subside, and the risk to the fetus is lower, making it a safer window for necessary dental treatments.

See our article: Is 40 too old for braces? Does a Patient’s Age Matter?

How to Care for Teeth During Pregnancy

Proper teeth care is crucial for maintaining excellent oral health, especially during pregnancy. Daily brushing and flossing are fundamental practices to prevent the accumulation of bacteria and plaque, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

To further support oral hygiene, consider incorporating warm salt water rinses into your routine two or three times a week. These rinses help reduce inflammation in the gums and promote overall mouth health, complementing regular brushing and flossing for optimal dental care during pregnancy.

Worth Knowing

The study published in BMC Pregnancy Childbirth revealed that only 20% of the women surveyed underwent an oral examination before becoming pregnant, while 38.5% did so intentionally after confirming their pregnancy. 24% of the participants cited a lack of awareness regarding the importance of maintaining proper oral hygiene during pregnancy.

Orthodontics During Pregnancy – 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

Pregnant mothers contemplating orthodontic treatment, such as braces, might find aligners to be an alternative worth considering. Aligners are often favored for orthodontic misalignment due to their less-invasive nature and shorter treatment times, resulting in fewer appointments and a quicker recovery compared to traditional braces. Moreover, the absence of metal parts or wires in aligners makes them a more aesthetically pleasing option for many women during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

For busy mums-to-be, at-home aligners can offer added convenience, particularly when regular dental visits may be challenging. With at-home aligners, women can undergo treatment from the comfort of their own home, minimizing potential exposure to illness and reducing the need for frequent office visits.

Here are some reviews of the best available at-home aligners:

Byte – The top pick, this aligner is affordable and comes with a free HyperBite and teeth whitening kit. This product also has a lifetime guarantee. See our review of Byte aligners.

Byte

Byte

An affordable option with refundable impression kits, free HyperByte, and a Byte for Life guarantee.

Check out Byte Aligners

Candid – The most similar to Invisalign aligners with hybrid in-office care this product has great reviews from its customers. See our review of CandidPro aligners.

Candid

Candid

A hybrid of in-office and at-home treatment that provides 1-on-1 orthodontist support.

Check out Candid Aligners

ALIGNERCO – The cheapest invisible aligner on offer with a zero deposit option on a monthly payment plan.  They offer 24/7 live chat support should you have any questions about your aligner or treatment. See our review of AlignerCo aligners.

AlignerCo

AlignerCo

The cheapest at-home aligners, with monthly plans, no down payment, and considerable discounts.

Check out AlignerCo Aligners

Orthodontics During Pregnancy

Determining the ideal timing for orthodontic treatment during pregnancy involves careful consideration of potential risks and appropriate scheduling. While orthodontic procedures are generally safe during pregnancy, it’s advisable to schedule visits during the second trimester when morning sickness tends to decline and hormone levels stabilize. This period minimizes potential discomfort and reduces the likelihood of complications. Additionally, clear communication between the patient, orthodontist, and obstetrician is crucial to ensure personalized care that prioritizes maternal and fetal health. By following these guidelines and seeking professional guidance, expectant mothers can safely undergo orthodontic treatment while maintaining optimal oral health throughout their pregnancy journey.

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.

Sources:

Radwan-Oczko, M., Hirnle, L., Szczepaniak, M., Duś-Ilnicka, I., How much do pregnant women know about the importance of oral health in pregnancy? Questionnaire-based survey; BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2023; DOI: 10.1186/s12884-023-05677-4. Available online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10182644/

Gupta, K., Mansoor Saify, M., Mahajan, H., Jain, D. K., Gupta, N., Orthodontic Treatment Considerations in Pregnancy: An Insight; Journal of Orofacial Research, April-June 2012. Available online at: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/267953448.pdf

Tiwari, S., Bagga, D. K., Agrawal, P., Nanda, M., Considerations for Orthodontic Treatment During Pregnancy: An Update, International Journal of Current Research and Review, 2021, DOI: 10.31782/IJCRR.2021.13311. Available online at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349031433_Considerations_for_Orthodontic_Treatment_During_Pregnancy_An_Update

Iza Wojnarowski

Content contributor

Iza is a dedicated content contributor for Toothific. Having worn braces twice and currently using Invisalign to correct a mild overbite, Iza brings a unique perspective to her writing. She spends her time staying updated on the latest dental trends and treatments, ensuring her readers have the most current information for their dental care needs.

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