Many pregnant women are under the impression that they shouldn’t get dental care for the duration of their pregnancy. We’re not sure where this myth originated, but it’s important to know that it’s just that: a myth. You can and should see the dentist during your pregnancy and if you need a root canal treatment, there’s no need to delay it just because you’re expecting. In fact, it’s better for your health to get the procedure if you need it. Here’s why.
Weighing the Risks of Root Canal Treatment During Pregnancy
All healthcare providers have to make decisions about patient care based on the risks involved. When it comes to a root canal treatment, we ask ourselves: is it riskier to move forward with a root canal during pregnancy or is it riskier to wait to treat a diseased tooth?
The answer here is clear—there’s more risk in waiting.
Root Canal Treatment When You’re Pregnant: Is It Really Safe?
The biggest risk factor in performing dental procedures during pregnancy is sedation. For example, IV sedation and conscious oral sedation are not typically recommended during pregnancy. Luckily, root canal treatments are performed using local anesthetic injections—local anesthetics are not harmful during pregnancy because, as their name suggests, they are localized to the injection site.
Another common misconception about dental care during pregnancy is that dental work can send bacteria into the bloodstream. In fact, you’re at a higher risk of having infection spread from your mouth to other parts of the body if you don’t get the dental care you need. A root canal is often needed to save an infected tooth, which means neglecting to treat it is dangerous for you and your unborn baby.
If you need to have an x-ray prior to your root canal treatment, you can rest assured that this is also safe. Digital dental x-rays emit very low levels of radiation, and this is further mitigated by placing a leaded apron over your abdomen while your x-rays are being taken.
Risks of Waiting to Get a Root Canal
Root canals are usually needed because of a dental emergency—an infection, a broken tooth, or severe pain. Your comfort and well-being matters; there’s no reason for you to suffer through excruciating pain when root canal treatment is safe and effective. When you need a root canal, it may be difficult to eat and sleep, which impacts your pregnancy. It can lead to elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. An infection from a tooth can spread when left untreated.
While you may plan on going to the dentist for your root canal as soon as you can after having your baby, this is easier said than done—you’ll be juggling doctor’s appointments for yourself and your baby, feeding and nap schedules, and you’ll likely be exhausted. By the time you get around to treating your tooth, it may be too late to save it.
Learn More About Root Canal Treatments
If you need a root canal treatment when you’re pregnant, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at one of our three New Jersey locations.