Every mom-to-be wants to do what’s best for their baby, and there is a lot of mixed information out there. Even our OBs had outdated information regarding dental work and oral health during pregnancy! We want all of our patients to know that we hold their health as well as their baby’s health as our number one priority. We would never recommend anything that could jeopardize the health or development of your baby! We love babies!
That being said, we want you to know how important it is to maintain your regular check-ups, hygiene appointments, and X-rays…yes, even X-rays. Guess what? There is no radiation exposure to the fetus! Digital X-rays have changed everything, and there is very little radiation exposure in general and certainly none to the developing baby. Even so, we are cautious with our exposure to minimize the already minimal radiation.
Why are X-rays so important? We appreciate that patients have so much faith in our ability to see everything going on in their mouth, but the reality is that there is a lot we cannot see without X-rays. Most cavities can’t be seen clinically until they are quite large. Xrays allow us to focus on preventative care or early treatments rather than waiting until there is a much bigger issue.
It’s completely safe to have dental work done while pregnant and the best time to do it is in the second trimester, mostly for the comfort of the mama. Babies are actually born without the bacteria that cause tooth decay, and they are first exposed to it by their primary caregivers. That means if you have untreated cavities in your mouth your chances of passing that along and making your child more susceptible to tooth decay is high. Plus, it’s so much easier to get a cavity filled before you have an infant.
This is fairly common. It typically starts in the second trimester, and you may notice it when your gums are more tender than normal or they bleed when you floss or brush. Sometimes it can be fairly severe and an extra hygiene appointment is recommended. If you are prone to gum disease, then an extra cleaning during pregnancy is highly recommended as gum disease is clearly linked to pre-term births and low-birthweight babies.
What the heck is this? A lot of babies are born with a lip or tongue tie. Unfortunately, this has been going largely undiagnosed. Thankfully, many more providers are becoming aware of the problems associated with these “ties” and lactation consultants to pediatricians are now more frequently recommending that these be treated asap!
How do you know if your baby has a lip or tongue tie? Check out the pictures. If you pull your baby’s upper lip up and notice the muscle attachment is basically on the ridge where their teeth will come in then it is tied. Same thing when you pull the lower lip down. Sometimes the muscle attachment will be pretty thick as well.
If your baby can’t stick his/her tongue out past their lower lip, or if it gets a heart shape to it when they stick it out, then it is probably tied. Lactation consultants are fairly well trained at identifying a tongue tie but a lot of them miss the lips!
The problems that are associated with a tongue or lip tie start early with latching while breastfeeding. Infants aren’t able to create the proper seal with these muscle attachments in the way, which can lead to problems with feeding, extremely painful nursing for the mother, too much air being swallowed while eating, and others. Later in life, it can lead to pediatric sleep apnea, which is linked with ADHD. If you aren’t sure and want us to take a look give us a call!
Please see our page on Laser Dentistry to see how we treat lip and tongue ties.
Child’s First Visit
We make this as stress-free and fun as possible! The best time to bring in your child is around age 2 unless you have concerns before that. We like to show the kiddos everything and let them touch or try things before we do attempt cleaning their teeth. We do not pressure them to do anything they aren’t ready for and we feel that getting acquainted with the office is super important. We will make sure we get a look at everything and coach you on some home care tips. Fluoride varnish is recommended for all kids every six months and we are happy to talk to parents about it.
Recommended Products for Kids
Toothpaste: Fluoridated toothpaste is recommended for all kids. For any child not able to spit after brushing only a rice-sized amount should be used. We don’t have a specific toothpaste that we love for kids but we do recommend starting them on fluoride early on.
Books are a great way to get kids interested in their teeth. There are a ton of good ones out there. The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss is a personal favorite! Please, please, please do not show your child a Youtube video of the dentist. This is hard for them to process and totally freaks them out. Keeping the information minimal but positive is the best way to preface your child’s first visit to the dentist!
Sonicare: Sonicare has done a great job of making toothbrushing fun for toddlers and older kids. The toothbrushes are gentle and more effective than manual brushing. There is even an app that comes with the toothbrush! You can start kids with an electric toothbrush around age two as long as the use is supervised.