I’m in my third trimester and woke up the other day with a terrible toothache. The pain got so bad that I finally broke down and went to an emergency dentist and he wanted to do a root canal. He assured me it was safe, but I just couldn’t do it right then and there because I’m nervous that it could affect my pregnancy. Is it ok to have a root canal when I’m so close to delivering? — Sasha
There are many elective and cosmetic dental procedures that you should hold off on during pregnancy, but if your tooth is as bad as you say it is, you should get it fixed right away. The risk of getting an infection that could spread and harm you or your baby is much greater than any risk you will have from the root canal itself. Actually, the second trimester is best for these types of dental treatments mainly because during the first trimester, your new pregnancy is vulnerable and during the third trimester most women would simply be too uncomfortable to lay in a dental chair for an extended period of time. It’s possible that you could get a temporary filling or something similar to get you through until after you have the baby.
If one of your concerns is antibiotics, you can be assured that penicillin, amoxicillin and clindamycin are all labeled category B for safety in pregnancy. If you’re also concerned about x-rays, the American College of Radiology has found that no single diagnostic x-ray has enough radiation to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus. It’s really your decision to make. Talk through your concerns with both your dentist and OB, consider all of the factors involved, and then decide if the benefit outweighs the risk.
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.