When you're pregnant, it's important to take precautions in the dental care you receive so that you and your baby stay healthy. In some cases, you may need a dental X-ray or anesthetic that can't wait until after your baby is born. So it's important to know what is and is not safe when it comes to these procedures.
It is especially important to take care of dental problems when you're pregnant, as lingering dental infections can harm not only your health, but also your baby's. Fortunately, dental X-ray radiation is very low, and dentists take special care to minimize radiation exposure when pregnant women require X-rays. The American Dental Association recommends the use of a leaded apron to protect the abdomen and a leaded collar to protect the thyroid for pregnant women.
In addition, a study in The Journal of the American Dental Association found that women who are 13 to 21 weeks pregnant can safely have essential dental treatment that involves topical and local anesthetics. In the Obstetrics and Periodontal Therapy Trial, pregnant women had scaling, root planing (deep cleaning), and "essential dental treatment" for moderate to severe cavities or broken or abscessed teeth. The study of 823 women found treatment did not increase the risk of adverse outcomes. Still, experts suggest pregnant women defer elective dental care during the first eight weeks of pregnancy and during late pregnancy.
"Examining the Safety of Dental Treatment in Pregnant Women." B.S. Michalowicz et al. Journal of the American Dental Association. June 2008, vol. 139, no. 6, pp. 685-95. Abstract: http://jada.ada.org/cgi/content/abstract/139/6/685. Accessed 2013.
"Pregnancy." Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/pregnancy/. Accessed 2013.