Dental cavities are probably not on the top of the list of an expectant mother’s health concerns but it's important not to neglect dental health at this time. Our dentist in Widnes has supported several expectant mothers with their dental needs. Let's find out more about what changes to expect from your teeth during pregnancy.
There are many common ailments associated with pregnancy; some like a general bloated sensation or swollen ankles are often spoken about during baby showers or whilst chatting. But the changes that are likely to occur in your mouth are less commonly discussed. Perhaps there is a little bit of social taboo about the extent of gingivitis or the relatively normal growths that appear on the gums. This can lead to new mothers becoming extremely surprised and panicked when they begin to get some symptoms. So let's discuss some of these scenarios and what your best course of action is.
Hormonally induced gingivitis
A common theme of many pregnancy-related dental issues are hormonal changes. There is a surprising similarity between the tissue of the uterus and that of mouths, leading to many of the hormones which are responsible for making changes to reproductive systems having a side effect on mouth tissue. This is particularly true of hormonally induced gingivitis, as a flood of third trimester progesterone significantly increases the permeability of gum tissue, allowing what was once commensal bacteria to easily attack and inflame gums.
In most cases this gingivitis is inconvenient and you may experience some bleeding whilst brushing your teeth and some soreness of your gums. But if they become engorged, red and sponge-like in texture, you should book an appointment with our dentist in Widnes as such advanced gingivitis can destabilise teeth resulting in tooth loss.
Most cases resolve themselves after birth, although there are stubborn cases or situations where hormonally induced gingivitis has become full-blown gum disease which will continue if intervention does not take place.
Pregnancy granulomas are a form of benign tumour that develops on the gum, but can often find themselves extending off the gum, attached only by a thin strip of tissue to the gum surface similar to that of a skin tag. For many patients, they remain as small painless red lumps, but as they can get quite large it can be easy to bite them whilst eating, making them very inconvenient. If so they can be easily removed in the clinic.
Many patients are particularly startled by the speed at which they develop and also from self-diagnosing on the internet, becoming too stressed over the idea of a ‘tumour’. But they are almost always benign and only require treatment if they are causing pain or inconvenience.
Treating pregnant women in general
The additional complexity of having two patients in the chair means that all treatments must consider any potential impact to the developing baby. Thankfully, there are almost no dental treatments which pose any degree of risk, although the use of X-rays is minimised, as would be the use of twilight sedation by our dentists in Widnes.