Is It Safe to Undergo Tooth X-rays During Pregnancy?
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Is It Safe to Undergo Tooth X-rays During Pregnancy?
If you are an expecting mom and need to get a dental x-ray done, you may be questioning whether the process can be harmful. This is especially true for women nearing the end of their pregnancy. Read on to discover the facts surrounding tooth x-rays during pregnancy so you can make the best choice for you and your baby’s health.
Why You Would Need an X-Ray
An orthodontist may need you to get a dental x-ray for a variety of reasons. One leading reason is to determine whether or not gum disease is present. X-rays are also useful for detecting underlying decay. In some cases, x-rays can also aid orthodontists in determining other issues such as how well the teeth are lining up, bone loss and serious infections. Regardless of the reason why your orthodontist has requested that you get one done, you can be sure there is a good reason behind it.
X-Rays and Pregnancy
Up until recently, many people believed that x-rays were harmful for pregnant women. The logic behind this was that the exposure to radiation could lead to complications with the embryo or fetus. People assumed that serious birth defects or deformities would occur as a result.
Fortunately, this is not the case nowadays. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) actually recommends that women who are pregnant maintain dental check-ups, cleanings and x-rays. Modern x-raying equipment uses an extremely low amount of radiation that poses a very low risk of causing health complications for both the mother and unborn baby.
If you are still feeling nervous about the radiation used during a dental x-ray, you can rest assured knowing that the risk factors are extremely low. This is because only a small amount of the body, the teeth primarily, are exposed to the radiation. In most cases, the developing embryo or fetus is not exposed to the process at all. Having one x-ray done poses an insignificant risk to your baby’s health. However, if you need several done intermittently within a short period of time, you may want to speak with your orthodontist about delaying the process until after you give birth.
Many healthcare professionals recommend wearing a lead apron or similar shielding device over your abdomen if you are pregnant during an x-ray. This tool can put your worries to rest by completely protecting the region from radiation during the process. You can speak with your orthodontist about this prior to the procedure to request one.
Postponing an X-Ray
If you are still uncomfortable with getting a dental x-ray done during pregnancy, you may want to speak with your orthodontist about the possibility of postponing the process until after you have given birth. The first trimester of development is considered to be the most vulnerable. If you are currently in it, you may be able to delay your procedure briefly until this stage of development is over.
However, you should also keep in mind that a serious infection or other issue could hinder your health and even your baby’s health if not properly dealt with. Sometimes an ultrasound can be used instead of an x-ray which would remove the risk of radiation exposure. However, only your orthodontist can determine whether this i a good option for your needs. This is a matter of determining whether the benefits outweigh the risks that you and your orthodontist must discuss prior to moving forward with a procedure.
In some cases, you may be able to avoid the need for an x-ray entirely. By taking preventative action and maintaining good oral care, you can significantly reduce your need for emergency dental procedures. Make sure you receive regular exams and cleanings to prevent decay and other issues. At-home you can do your best to avoid the need for x-rays by making sure you brush twice a day and floss thoroughly every day. Often times people do not brush for long enough, forget to get the roof of their mouth or ignore hard to reach areas. Unfortunately, these bad practices can still lead a fully committed brusher to gum disease, decay and ultimately x-rays over time. Take your time and invest in a quality electric toothbrush if needed to ensure high quality cleaning every day.
If you are worried about getting an x-ray during pregnancy, you can rest assured knowing that the risks are extremely low. The benefits associated with the procedure significantly outweigh any small chance of complications arising. By maintaining proper daily oral hygiene, you can reduce the need for emergency x-rays, dental work and the use of medications during your pregnancy.
Fix Your Smile Today
Contact Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics today to set up your consultation. There’s no reason to put off a visit to our helpful team of professionals. It is our goal to help you make the most of your smile.
When your teeth are aligned properly and your jaw is flowing smoothly, you will find more reasons to flash those pearly whites every day. Let Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics be your partner in good oral hygiene.
Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics
900 Larkspur Landing Circle, Suite 200,
Larkspur, California 94939
Dr. Jasmine Gorton, a Bay Area native, graduated from UC Berkeley with Bachelor degrees in both Integrative Biology and Social Sciences and then went on to graduate from Harvard with honors for her Doctorate in Dental Medicine.
She continued her education at UCSF with a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Growth and Development, followed by an Orthodontic Residency with a Master of Science in Oral Biology.