Are Dental X-rays Safe for Pregnant Women?

Are Dental XRays Safe for Pregnant Women?

Updated: 12/5/2019

A common question that comes up at our dental clinic here at Bridge Creek Dental is if dental x-rays are safe for pregnant women to have performed. In short, it is safe for pregnant women to receive dental x-rays.

Dental X-rays Have Been Ruled Safe For Pregnant Women

Now, you don’t have to just take our word that dental x-rays are safe for pregnant women. For one thing, according to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), the amount of radiation that a woman and her unborn baby are exposed to is a negligible amount. In fact, the APA stated that pregnant women are more likely to experience more environmental radiation on a single sunny day than what a dental x-ray will expose them to during a dental visit.

Other health professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Radiology, have said that it is safe for pregnant women to undergo dental x-rays, especially if the right precautions are taken.

Precations Our Dentists Take For Pregnant Women

Even though the amount of radiation from a dental x-ray is negligible and has been ruled safe, our dentists and staff always take precautions when administering x-rays.

For one thing, dental x-rays are limited to short and concise bursts of radiation. Along with the short exposure time, dental x-rays are focused around the mouth—especially x-rays like the panoramic x-rays. For the other types of x-rays, pregnant women will be draped in a lead-lined apron that will protect their chest, stomach, and hips. With this kind of coverage, their unborn child will be completely covered and protected from any incidental dental x-ray radiation.

Also, if you are in for a preventative care cleaning, are an existing patient, and had recent dental x-rays taken, you don’t necessarily have to have more x-rays taken. Our dentists can consult your last dental x-rays and check areas where they mentioned having concerns if you prefer not to have x-rays taken while you are pregnant.

Other Ways Pregnant Women Can Maintain Dental Health

Pregnancy can be hard on a woman’s dental health as their growing unborn child will require many key nutrients that are used to help maintain dental health. To avoid dental issues due to pregnancy, women who are pregnant can do several things:

  • Maintain oral hygiene – Pregnancy can take a toll on a woman’s energy levels, making even simple tasks such as brushing and flossing daily difficult. However, as pregnancy can make a woman’s teeth more vulnerable to cavities and infection, it is critical that oral hygiene is maintained.
  • Use toothpaste with fluoride – To help protect and strengthen their teeth, pregnant women should use toothpaste with fluoride. This naturally-occurring mineral can help strengthen the enamel of a person’s teeth and help prevent cavities from forming.
  • Avoid brushing too soon after vomiting – Morning sickness often plagues pregnant women far beyond the morning and past the first trimester. While the instinct is to brush immediately after being sick, pregnant women should wait. The highly acidic nature of stomach bile is hard on teeth, and brushing teeth right after vomiting can wear the teeth down further. Instead, rinse with water and wait for 30 minutes before brushing.
  • Eat a calcium-rich diet – Unborn children can leech calcium and other essential minerals from their mothers. Calcium, in particular, is critical to keeping your teeth and jawbone healthy as well as strong. So, making an effort to consume more calcium is a good idea to protect a pregnant woman’s teeth.
  • Keep biannual cleaning appointment – During pregnancy, it is important that any biannual cleaning appointments are kept. This preventative cleaning will help ensure that no cavities are forming, and allow our dentists to check for any other potential issues.

Let Our Dentists Know You Are Pregnant

If you are ready to take care of your dental health and have concerns about having dental work done while pregnant, feel free to tell us when you contact us for an appointment. Our dentists and staff can make the appropriate accommodations to help you feel safe and comfortable during your visit with us.

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