Can I get braces while pregnant?

Can I get braces while pregnant?

Jun 5, 2024

Expectant mothers often wonder if they can begin orthodontic treatment while pregnant due to the multitude of physical and emotional transformations experienced during pregnancy. The answer is yes, though it is vital to understand the procedure, as well as the potential risks and advantages associated with any medical intervention during this period.

Understanding the Changes in Pregnant Women's Bodies

During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes numerous changes to accommodate the growing baby. Hormonal fluctuations are common, leading to increased blood flow and changes in bodily tissues, including the gums.

Pregnancy hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen, can cause gum inflammation, making them more susceptible to plaque. This condition, known as pregnancy gingivitis, could potentially complicate orthodontic treatment.

However, with proper oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups, these issues can be managed. The key is understanding these changes and working with healthcare professionals to ensure a safe pregnancy and successful orthodontic treatment.

Safety of Orthodontic Treatments During Pregnancy

Experts agree that there is no inherent medical risk in starting orthodontic treatment during pregnancy. However, it is essential to inform your orthodontist about your pregnancy, as this may influence the approach to your care. Your orthodontist should be aware of your pregnancy status to make the necessary adjustments in your treatment plan, considering the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy.

You should also have a conversation with your obstetrician before starting orthodontic treatment. This is to ensure that all members of your medical team are aware of the care you are receiving and can provide comprehensive advice.

Oral Changes During Pregnancy

Pregnancy hormones can cause several changes in your oral health. These changes may influence your orthodontic treatment and necessitate more frequent appointments with your orthodontist.

  • Hormonal Changes and Dental Health
    During pregnancy, hormonal fluctuations might alter your body’s response to plaque and bacteria, increasing the risk of gum disease and gingivitis.Pregnancy hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen, can also make your teeth slightly looser than usual. Although this is a temporary condition that usually resolves after childbirth, it is a crucial factor for your orthodontist to consider when planning your treatment.
  • Pregnancy Gingivitis and Gum Disease
    Pregnancy increases the risk of gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, due to hormonal changes. Gingivitis is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily. If left untreated, it can progress to more severe forms of gum disease, which can potentially lead to tooth loss. Therefore, maintaining good oral hygiene during pregnancy is paramount, especially when wearing braces.
  • Diet Considerations
    Being pregnant and wearing braces can impose additional dietary restrictions. Certain foods that can damage or get stuck in your braces, such as hard, crunchy, or sticky foods, should be avoided. At the same time, pregnant women need to follow specific dietary guidelines to ensure the adequate intake of necessary nutrients. Thus, you may need to make adjustments to your diet to accommodate both orthodontic treatment and pregnancy nutritional requirements.

Benefits of Starting Orthodontic Treatment During Pregnancy

Despite these concerns, there are several benefits to starting orthodontic treatment during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, it is a favorable opportunity to address dental concerns due to the increased emphasis on health and well-being among women. It becomes more difficult to find time for routine orthodontic visits once the baby is born. Therefore, commencing orthodontic treatment while pregnant can be a more practical approach, allowing you to prioritise your newborn afterwards.

Orthodontic treatment can boost self esteem and confidence, which can positively impact mental health during pregnancy. Feeling good about your smile can contribute to a more positive pregnancy experience.

Interestingly, pregnancy hormones can make your teeth slightly mobile, which might make them more responsive to orthodontic treatment. This mobility is temporary and usually resolves after childbirth.

Orthodontic treatment doesn’t typically pose risks to the developing baby. It’s a procedure focused on the mother’s oral health, and with proper precautions, it can be safely undertaken during pregnancy.

Orthodontic Treatment During Pregnancy - Tips and Considerations

While it’s safe to start orthodontic treatment during pregnancy, there are several factors to consider.

  • X-Rays
    Orthodontic treatment often requires diagnostic oral X-rays. Although the radiation exposure from dental X-rays is very low, it is best to minimize exposure to radiation during pregnancy. Therefore, your orthodontist should use a lead shield to cover your abdomen and thyroid during X-rays
  • Discomfort
    Braces can cause some discomfort or sensitivity, which might be slightly more noticeable during pregnancy due to increased nerve sensitivity. However, the discomfort is generally mild and temporary.
  • Oral Hygiene
    Maintaining good oral hygiene is especially important during orthodontic treatment and pregnancy due to the increased risk of gum disease. Be prepared to spend extra time on oral care, which can be more complicated with braces. Your orthodontist will provide you with specific instructions on how to brush and floss effectively with braces.
  • Stay Hydrated and Eat Healthy
    Good nutrition is essential for both your pregnancy and your oral health.
  • Regular Appointments
    Orthodontic treatment requires regular appointments, usually every six to eight weeks. Balancing these appointments with your prenatal care visits might be challenging, especially if you are working. Therefore, it’s essential to plan your schedule well.
  • Listen to Your Body
    If you’re feeling uncomfortable or exhausted, don’t hesitate to reschedule your appointment.

Orthodontists Special Care for Pregnant Patients

Orthodontists play a crucial role in ensuring a safe and successful treatment experience for pregnant patients. They are trained to provide special care, taking into account the physical and hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.

Special care might include using gentler techniques, avoiding certain materials that pregnant women might be sensitive to, and coordinating care with the patient’s obstetrician.

What’s essential is open communication. As a patient, you should feel comfortable discussing your concerns and needs with your orthodontist. They are there to support you throughout your orthodontic journey.

Making the Right Choice for Your Orthodontic Treatment and Pregnancy

Starting orthodontic treatment during pregnancy is a personal decision that should be made after careful consideration and consultation with healthcare professionals.

While there are potential concerns, with proper precautions and management, it can be a safe and rewarding experience. The key is understanding the changes your body is going through, maintaining excellent oral hygiene, and communicating openly with your orthodontist and obstetrician.

Remember, it’s not just about achieving a beautiful smile, but also about promoting overall oral health, which can positively impact your pregnancy experience and your baby’s health. Make the choice that’s right for you.