How to Protect Your Teeth

Did You Skip Your Dental Checkups When You Were Pregnant?

Some types of elective dental procedures and cosmetic dentistry aren't recommended while pregnant; however, you should still attend your regular dental checkups. It can be easy to let those regular appointments slide since you have other priorities. However, now that your baby has arrived, it's crucial to resume your regular dental care. If you didn't see your dentist while you were pregnant, what can you expect during your first visit back?

A Thorough Checkup and Cleaning

Your dentist will perform a thorough checkup, and it's likely that this will include professional cleaning, which is also called scaling and polishing. A dentist often performs this service during each checkup. If it's been a while, you can guarantee that professional cleaning will need to take place. This allows your dentist to remove dental calculus (hardened plaque) which can't be removed with your toothbrush. A professional cleaning is one of your best weapons in the fight against gingivitis, which can be incredibly common during pregnancy.

Examination for Gingivitis

Gingivitis during pregnancy is often referred to as pregnancy gingivitis. It's common due to your body's increased production of a hormone called progesterone. This hormone enhances blood flow to your gum tissues, which can make them swollen and inflamed. In most cases, scaling and polishing will remove sufficient bacteria to allow your gums to heal themselves. If your pregnancy gingivitis was particularly severe, a root planing might be necessary. This can be included in professional cleaning, targeting the surfaces of your tooth roots and removing plaque and calculus. Now that you've given birth and your progesterone levels have begun to subside, your pregnancy gingivitis should also begin to subside.

Pyogenic Granulomas 

In addition to pregnancy gingivitis, you will have been susceptible to the formation of pyogenic granulomas in your mouth. These are benign growths that take the form of a red lump, which can sometimes bleed. They're an inflammatory response to a localized irritant like plaque and often develop during pregnancy. You may or may not have noticed the formation of a pyogenic granuloma, but it depends on its size and if it caused pain. Should your dentist notice one, it can be cut out. This is not always necessary, as most pyogenic granulomas disappear once you've delivered your baby, so the need for intervention will vary. 

If you didn't find time to get to the dentist while you were pregnant, it's important that you take the time now that your baby has arrived.