Most moms and moms-to-be know that dental care is recommended throughout pregnancy, since hormonal changes can cause more of a susceptibility to discomfort and infection. Dental problems also may bring to light a more serious underlying problem that these mothers should be aware of. Though it is my personal opinion that most dental evaluation and care should be taken care of before conception (a long time before conception if mercury removal is involved), I believe that light, routine dental care, such as cleanings or mild gingivitis treatment can be safe and effective during pregnancy.
Since my practice uses ozone in place of many harsher chemicals and typical dental medications, much can be done without fretting about affecting babies in utero or through mom’s milk. Healing is accelerated and accomplished more naturally when ozone is used. An already concerned mother should never be forced to compromise between “following the doctor’s orders” by getting dental care but exposing her developing children to drugs and toxins. Cleaning is harmless if there are no mercury fillings to agitate.
Many of the common drugs, painkillers, antibiotics, anesthetics, etc. used in the dentist’s office have been declared “safe,” or at least not significantly detrimental for a pregnant or nursing mother. A good dentist is cognizant of the most recent information regarding safe substances for his pregnant or nursing patients. For many patients, the reassurance that those substances are safe enough is all they need. However, others want to remain as clean and toxin-free as possible. I lean toward this side myself. Even if no adverse effects are found on growing babies, inside or outside the womb, there is no guarantee that there are other long-term consequences for dental drug exposure. Every drug is a foreign substance to the body; every drug is designed to manipulate certain functions in order to successfully carry out a medical purpose. In many cases they are lifesavers and great aids in the process of healing and managing pain.
But there is always, always a consequence, seen or unseen, for this medical/dental intervention or manipulation. It is only logical to conclude that delicately growing babies will be affected to some degree. We may not see it right away. It may remain undetected as the baby grows into childhood, then adulthood, and accumulates other health problems that would never be connected with Mom’s treatments while pregnant or nursing. The important thing is to educate yourself as best you can and make the best decisions for your family’s health.
I’ll get to the practical side of things in the next post.
Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles