Pregnancy and dental health post

Is it safe to have dental work during pregnancy?

Is it Safe to Have Dental Work during Pregnancy? 

Dental work and pregnancy questions are very common for any mom-to-be. Annual exams and preventive dental cleanings while pregnant are safe and strongly recommended. We’ll discuss why, here. Our article at a glance will answer the following questions and more:

Is dental work safe during pregnancy?

Can you have a dental filling done while pregnant?

Can a tooth infection harm my unborn baby?

Should you avoid the dentist when pregnant?

A change or rise in hormone levels while pregnant causes the gums to bleed, swell and trap food, irritating them. It is essential to receive preventive dental work during pregnancy to avoid oral infections like gum disease, which have been linked to preterm births.

nickel free crown digital illustration

What about dental concerns such as fillings and crowns? 

Dental work while pregnant, such as crowns and cavity fillings, should be treated, thus helping reduce any chance of infection. If dental work must be done during pregnancy, the second trimester is ideal. You can read more information about fetal development here: http://americanpregnancy.org/while pregnant/second-trimester/. Once you have arrived at your third trimester, it might be challenging to lie on your back in a dental chair for an extended period. At this point, the safest course of action is to postpone any unnecessary dental work until after the birth of your child.

Sometimes, however, emergency dental work during pregnancy, like tooth extractions or root canals, is necessary. Postpone until after delivery; all elective treatments such as cosmetic procedures and teeth whitening. It is always an excellent idea to avoid this type of dental work while pregnant to prevent exposing a developing fetus to any risks, even if the risks seem minimal. 

patient meds on the topic of dental work during pregnancy

What about medications used during dental work? 

Studies are currently conflicting about possible adverse effects on the developing baby from medications used during dental work and pregnancy. Learn more here: https://americanpregnancy.org/medication/. Typically, Lidocaine is the most commonly used drug for dental work during pregnancy. Lidocaine (Category B) does not cross through the placenta after it has been administered. There are additional facts that can be obtained from here: Medication and Pregnancy:: American Pregnancy Association.

Should you need dental work, anesthesia amounts should be administered in as little dose as possible, yet receiving enough to make you comfortable for the procedure. If you experience discomfort, you must request additional numbing medication. Being comfortable reduces the amount of stress felt by both yourself and your child. Also, the more comfortable and relaxed you are, the easier it is for the anesthesia medication to work.

Often, dental work requires antibiotics to treat and prevent infections. Antibiotics such as Amoxicillin, Penicillin, and Clindamycin (which are labeled as “Category B” for safety during pregnancy), might be prescribed after your procedure has been completed.

dr christine bergman showing xrays

Dental Work during Pregnancy: Are dental x-rays safe during pregnancy?

What about x-rays done during pregnancy for dental work? 

Routine x-rays typically taken during your annual dental exam can often be done after delivery of the baby. https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/is-it-safe/x-rays-during-pregnancy-1189/. However, it is essential to know that x-rays are necessary to perform many dentistry procedures, especially those of an emergency nature. Something important to know is that according to the American College of Radiology, there is no single diagnostic x-ray that has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing fetus or embryo. According to the ADA and ACOG, having dental X-rays during pregnancy considered safe. 

One vital thing to note that when receiving any x-ray is that the appropriate shielding is always necessary to help deflect any scatter radiation. During pregnancy, this would include shielding of the abdomen and thyroid. However, any good dental practice will shield you regardless of being pregnant or male versus female. It’s good practice to protect all anatomy near radiation to reduce the amount of dose you receive over time.

Should you avoid the dentist altogether while pregnant?

Some women might elect to avoid all dental work during the first trimester. The first trimester is the most vulnerable time of fetal development. However, there has been no evidence suggesting harm to the baby for those that elect to visit the dentist during this time. 

Also, if non-emergency dental work arises during the third trimester, it should be put on hold. Doing so will help avoid a period of prolonged time lying on your back and the risk of premature labor. 

dr barth interacting with patient about dental work during pregnancy

Suggestions for addressing your oral care during pregnancy:

  • The (ADA) American Dental Association recommends pregnant women eat a balanced diet (http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy health/diet-during-pregnancy/), floss daily, and brush their teeth thoroughly with an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste twice daily. 
  • It is also vital that you have preventive dental exams and cleanings during pregnancy. 
  • Be sure to let your dentist know what you are expecting. 
  • Postpone all non-emergency dental work until the second trimester or even after delivery, if at all possible. Postpone any elective procedure until after delivery.
  • Maintain healthy circulation while sitting in the dental chair by keeping legs uncrossed.
  • Bring a pillow to help keep yourself and the baby more comfortable (Nebraska Family Dentistry locations offer many amenities to keep you comfortable during your appointment). 
  • Bring headphones and your favorite music (this, however, is a standard perk we offer at all Nebraska Family Dentistry locations). 

If you are still unsure about dental work during pregnancy, be sure to visit with your “dentist near me in Lincoln, NE,” and they can help guide you on a safe journey. We’ve also included some of the most commonly asked questions to help you make a more informed decision regarding dental work during pregnancy.

biological dentist dr kathryn alderman talking about dental work during pregnancy

Commonly Asked Questions about Dental Work during Pregnancy:

Is dental anesthesia safe during pregnancy? 

According to the ADA (American Dental Association), diagnostic, preventative, and restorative dental treatment is safe. Local anesthetics such as lidocaine and bupivacaine can be used during pregnancy. However, it is always a good idea to check with your dentist to be sure the treatment you are considering is safe for both yourself and the baby.

Can dental problems affect pregnancy?

There is evidence that some dental problems can affect a developing baby. There is a strong correlation between gum disease in pregnant women and preterm births. If you have dental concerns and are expecting, be sure to address them with your dental provider.

Can a tooth infection harm my unborn baby?

When left untreated, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) can lead to a more severe infection within the gums and surrounding bone. Ultimately, periodontal disease can lead to bone and tooth loss. A mother who has active tooth decay can spread this same bacteria to an unborn child.

Is seeing the dentist necessary while pregnant?

Why is it so essential to go to the dentist while pregnant?

Dental care and pregnancy go hand in hand. Dental care during pregnancy is vital because of a change in hormones; there is an increased risk of developing gum disease. In turn, gum disease can affect the health of your baby. 

smiling beauiful woman looking up dental work during pregnancy


While this isn’t a complete list of dental work during pregnancy questions, it’s a good start. An excellent way to ensure that you maintain excellent oral health throughout pregnancy is to have routine check-ups and cleanings. If you are pregnant and have concerns, contact a “Lincoln dentist near me” for help. We are here to ensure that both you and your unborn child receive the best possible care. Your overall well-being and oral health is our top priority.

Our Services