We’ve been trying for a baby for almost a year now, so I’ve had loads of time to do research. When we finally found out a couple of weeks ago that we’re being blessed with a little one, I already had my OB chosen, and had everything lined up. One thing I didn’t consider was that I might need to switch to a holistic dentist during the pregnancy. For some reason, I just expected that my doctor would follow all the expected precautions. Sadly, I found out I was very wrong when I went in for my regular checkup today. I told them I was expecting, and they still tried to get me to do x-rays! Not only that, but the doctor says I have decay under an old amalgam filling and he wants to remove it. I was shocked. He really didn’t seem concerned at all that my unborn child would be exposed to radiation and mercury! I don’t even know where to begin. Is this normal? Should I bother trying to inform him of the dangers, just avoid going in while I’m pregnant, or should I find a new office? I told them all I could have done today was a cleaning and they accepted it, but they put on a lot of pressure for me to come back right away for the other procedures. How should I handle it? — Emily
Congratulations on the wee-one! Start by taking a deep breath. Your doctor wasn’t necessarily wrong, but it’s understandable that you’d want to see a holistic dentist for the duration of your pregnancy.
Generally speaking, dental offices like to get confirmation from your OB prior to any kind of treatment, for reassurance that you’re not in any kind of high-risk group. Dental x-rays are typically given the green light because they have a very low radiation, especially when they’re digital. They’re also focused on a very small area, and there’s minimal scatter. Beyond that, all patients, especially expectant mothers, must wear a protective lead apron. This shields you and your baby, so that only the areas that need to be seen on film are exposed. If you’re concerned about safety, run it by your OB at your first appointment.
As for removing the amalgam filling, it’s a matter of determining which is most-harmful. Bad bacteria and periodontal disease have been linked to low birth weight and pre-term birth, which puts newborns at a higher risk for other complications. For this reason, it’s imperative to keep up with your dental visits during pregnancy. Holistic dentists tend to take more precautions during amalgam removals, to ensure the vapors are extracted and that no bits of the filling are ingested, which means it’s a safe option, even while pregnant. Considering that the cavity is harboring bacteria which is also harmful to the baby, it’s probably a good idea to have it removed. With that said, most OBs recommend waiting to do treatment until after the first trimester has passed, and also place limits on the anesthetics that can be used. Regardless of which dental office you see, you’ll definitely want to get your OB on board with any treatment you have.
This blog post is brought to you by Des Moines cosmetic dentist, Dr. Phelan Thomas. For more information on the services he provides, please visit his Des Moines cosmetic dentist website.