Safety Concerns for Wisdom Tooth Removal During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the most crucial stage in the life of a woman during which certain precautions must be followed to protect the health of the developing fetus. Most elective medical and dental treatments are usually postponed until after the delivery of the child.

However, some problems, such as acute wisdom tooth pain, cannot be ignored for a long time. Wisdom teeth removal may not be the most common procedure performed during pregnancy. However, fortunately, it is safe to extract wisdom teeth during pregnancy.

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Usually, the second trimester is the preferred time for undergoing any extensive dental treatment. Dentists take extra care and precautions to determine the use of x-ray, type of anesthesia, and pain relievers to ensure protection to the developing fetus.

Today’s article will highlight the safety concerns related to wisdom tooth removal during pregnancy. Furthermore, we will discuss the precautions taken during tooth removal in a pregnant woman.

Is wisdom tooth removal safe during pregnancy?

Usually, it is recommended to postpone any elective medical or dental procedure until after the baby is born. Wisdom tooth extraction is generally advised before planning a pregnancy or after the delivery of the child.

However, in acute cases, when there are excessive infection, pain, and stress, it becomes essential to remove the wisdom tooth during pregnancy. Typically, wisdom tooth removal is safe when performed under the utmost safety measures. (1)

What are the symptoms that may indicate a tooth removal during pregnancy?

Generally, mild pain and discomfort can be managed with pain relievers postponing the wisdom tooth removal. However, you might have to get your wisdom tooth extracted if you experience the following symptoms –

  • Excruciating pain in the tooth and gums
  • Signs of extensive tooth decay
  • Difficulty in eating
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding from the gums (2)

When is a good time to remove wisdom tooth during pregnancy?

Dentists always try to avoid surgical procedures during pregnancy. However, in case of emergency, they might wait for the right time to go ahead with it. Usually, the dilemma of performing dental procedures lies between the first three trimesters.

  • First trimester – this stage is crucial for proper organ development of the fetus. Therefore, no medical or dental procedure should be performed in the first trimester. The best course of action for wisdom tooth pain during this period is to follow home remedies for pain relief.
  • Second trimester – this period id usually the safest time to plan an emergency dental treatment. During this stage, the baby’s organs are fully developed, and there is no threat to a developmental abnormality at this stage. (3)

It is essential to position yourself comfortably on the dental chair, as some women suffer from Supine Hypotension Syndrome – a drop in blood pressure caused by pressure exerted by the fetus on the inferior vena cava when the woman is sitting in a reclined position.

  • The third trimester – dental procedures are usually not performed in this stage because it is challenging for the pregnant woman to sit comfortably on the dental chair for an extended period. Moreover, stress during dental treatment can lead to premature childbirth.

What are the safety precautions?

Usually, wisdom tooth extractions in pregnant women are performed under utmost safety precautions which include –

Radiological assessment and anesthesia

x-rays are crucial to understanding the underlying condition of the infected tooth. However, in the case of a pregnant woman, the dentist has to evaluate the necessity of an x-ray. If the dentist decides to take an x-ray, protective lead apron and thyroid collar are used to cover the upper body of the woman. This prevents the fetus from harmful radiation exposure.

Usually, the safest anesthesia that can be used in a pregnant woman is Novocain or lidocaine. These drugs get filtered out of the placenta before reaching the fetus. (4)

Medications that are safe to administer

  • Antibiotics such as penicillin and Amoxycillin are safe unless the patient has an allergy to these medications. Erythromycin is also an effective antibiotic to treat wisdom tooth infections
  • NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin are suitable for post-extraction pain relief. However, they must be avoided during the first and third semesters.

Medications that must be avoided

  • Tetracycline, minocycline or doxycycline can cause staining of baby’s teeth
  • Avoid fluoroquinolones such as ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin
  • Avoid retinoids, thalidomide as they increase the risk of cleft lip and palate in the baby (5)

What are the preventive tips to reduce dental problems during pregnancy?

The best thing you can do to avoid unnecessary dental problems especially during pregnancy is –

  • Follow a good oral health routine – brush twice daily using fluoride toothpaste. Floss once a day and use an alcohol-free mouthwash
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Get professional teeth cleaning.
  • Avoid sweet and acidic food that may lead to increased bacterial load in the mouth
  • Avoid smoking or alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
  • Switch to a balanced nutritious diet

Take away message

Pregnancy is one of the most crucial and challenging times for women. Usually, every elective medical and dental treatment is postponed until the birth of the baby. However, in cases such as acute wisdom tooth pain, it is difficult to ignore the symptoms.

Dentists have to evaluate the right time to perform a wisdom tooth extraction.  Generally, the second trimester is considered to be safe. Some precautions taken for wisdom tooth removal in a pregnant woman include the need for x-rays, the type of anesthesia, and the use of pain relievers.

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The best way to avoid such circumstances is always to maintain good oral hygiene and bring a change in your dietary intake. However, if you feel that you need a wisdom tooth extraction, consult your dentist immediately.

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