Our teeth are an integral part of the body because they allow us to break down food for easier consumption. For his reason, everyone is encouraged to visit their dentist for proper treatment, such as root canals. A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. However, a question about root canals often arises is whether pregnant women can get them or not.
Pregnant women must take extra precautions for their health, and their teeth are no exception. Because pregnancy can weaken the immune system, pregnant women must take extra care of their teeth to prevent infections. The short answer is that pregnant women can safely get a root canal, and your dentist will take extra precautions to ensure your safety and your baby’s safety. Despite this, many still pass up a root canal treatment because of unfamiliarity with the procedure. For this reason, we’ll discuss the details in this article.
How Root Canal Treatments Work
Root canals are performed to save teeth that are badly decayed or infected. During a root canal procedure, the dentist removes the damaged or infected pulp from the inside, then cleaned and sealed. The pulp is the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. It helps the tooth grow during development and provides sensory information, such as hot and cold sensations.
Pulp removal is usually necessary when it becomes infected or damaged. A deep cavity can cause infection or damage, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a cracked or chipped tooth. The pulp removal can also be necessary in cases where the tooth has been exposed to extreme temperature changes. When the pulp is removed, the tooth is no longer alive. However, the tooth remains in place because the tooth’s outer shell, called dentin, still holds the tooth in place.
When to Get a Root Canal Treatment When Pregnant
Ideally, a pregnant woman should get a root canal treatment during the second trimester because the risks of anesthesia are lower during this time, and the baby is less likely to be affected by the procedure.
The first trimester is critical for the baby’s development, and any dental procedure should be avoided if possible. The third trimester is also when the baby grows rapidly, and the mother’s blood volume increases, making dental procedures riskier. The silver lining is that if an infection happens, the pregnant woman can still get treatment anytime throughout the pregnancy.
Are There Risks with Getting a Root Canal Treatment?
There are minimal risks associated with getting a root canal treatment. Occasionally, patients may experience minor discomfort or swelling after the procedure, but this generally resolves on its own within a few days. In rare cases, patients may develop a small hole in the tooth that allows bacteria to enter the root canal. This is known as a root canal treatment failure. However, this is not common and can be avoided by taking good care of the tooth after the procedure.
Dental Issues during Pregnancy
Pregnancy can increase the risk of developing gum disease. The changes in the oral microbiome and increased levels of certain hormones can make pregnant women more susceptible to gum disease. Pregnant women should take extra care of their teeth and gums by brushing and flossing regularly and visiting the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups.
Pregnancy can also cause teeth to become more sensitive to temperature changes and acidic food and drinks. Avoiding hot or cold beverages and acidic foods during pregnancy is best. Beyond that, pregnant women should also avoid chewing on hard objects like ice cubes or candies.
Root Canal Treatment Aftercare
After a root canal treatment, patients may experience soreness and tenderness in the treated tooth and surrounding gums. This is normal and will resolve on its own within a few days. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used to help manage any discomfort. Patients should also avoid chewing on the treated tooth for at least 24 hours after the procedure. You should also eat soft foods and avoid hard or chewy foods for a few days. Depending on how long this will be according to the dentist.
Of course, patients should brush and floss their teeth as usual but should avoid the treated tooth for at least 24 hours. After that, patients can brush and floss around the tooth as usual.
Even when pregnant, getting a root canal treatment is possible because it’s not harmful to the mother or baby. While side effects may occur, it rarely happens as long as proper aftercare measures are taken. All that matters is getting the treatment you need to keep your smile healthy and bright.
Manassas Smiles provides top-quality services for root canals in Manassas. Our dental professionals specialize in various areas, such as cosmetic, restorative, and general dentistry, to ensure proper oral health. Simply go to our website to schedule an appointment!