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Can You Get Dental X-Rays While Pregnant?

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a pregnant woman visits the dentist with her family

Pregnancy is a time of many changes, including hormonal ones. During your pregnancy, regular visits to your health care provider are crucial for monitoring your health and that of your baby. Visits to your dentist are also vital for maintaining good oral care. 

Dental visits can include routine checkups, cleaning, and even dental x-rays. Yes, dental x-rays are safe during pregnancy. Let’s learn more about oral health in pregnancy and dental x-rays. 

Pregnancy and Oral Health

Oral health is an important part of prenatal health. Hormonal changes in pregnant women increase their risk of gum disease. 

If you already have gingivitis before becoming pregnant, hormonal changes can aggravate the disease. Almost 60% to 70% of pregnant women have gingivitis (red, inflamed gums). 

Poor oral health in pregnant women who have periodontitis is associated with poor pregnancy outcomes:

  • Pre-term birth
  • Low birth weight

During pregnancy, there is more blood flow to the mucous membranes in the mouth. It can cause your gums to bleed and swell more than usual. Using a soft-bristled brush can help prevent bleeding.  

Morning sickness or nausea during pregnancy can affect your teeth and oral health. Stomach acid in the mouth from stomach reflux can increase your risk of cavities. Exposure to stomach acids can weaken the surface of the teeth, increasing your risk of tooth decay. 

Ways to protect your oral health if you experience morning sickness include:

  • Rinse the mouth with water or use fluoride mouth wash.
  • Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste to help prevent tooth decay and cavities

Cravings during pregnancy can also increase your risk of tooth decay. Avoiding too many sugary foods and snacks and eating a healthy balanced diet can prevent dental plaque and gum disease. Regular brushing and flossing can also keep your teeth and gums healthy. 

What are Dental X-Rays?

Dentists use routine x-rays to detect dental issues early before they become serious. Before getting an x-ray, you need to open your mouth as wide as possible and then bite on a piece of film for the best results. 

Dental x-rays are painless and produce images of the internal structures in your mouth, bones, and teeth. Teeth and bones are dense and appear white on an x-ray image. 

Are Dental X-Rays Safe During Pregnancy?

As soon as you learn about your pregnancy, let your dentist know and keep up with routine dentist visits. Dental X-rays are safe during pregnancy because they produce low amounts of radiation. 

When taking x-rays of the mouth, your dentist will protect your abdomen by giving you a lead apron or shield. Even if you are not pregnant, you can wear a lead apron or shield to protect against possible risks to your reproductive organs. 

iTero scan scans the inside of your mouth and takes a digital impression of the teeth and soft tissue structures. It’s not an x-ray, radiation-free, and safe for pregnant women. 

The benefits of this type of scan are:

  • Helps with accurate diagnosis 
  • It’s time-saving and safe 
  • Provides digital dental images
  • Has the ability to scan the back of your mouth 

You can postpone routine x-rays after the baby is born. However, they are crucial for detecting and treating dental issues, especially in pregnancy. Speak to your dentist about your concerns should you need an x-ray. 

a pregnant woman has her teeth examined at the dentist

Oral Health & Pregnancy

You can get dental x-rays while pregnant as part of your dental care regime. Dental visits during pregnancy are essential for your health and your baby’s, just like regular visits to the doctor. You can schedule a checkup in the first trimester. 

Regular checkups and cleaning at your dentist’s office, including x-rays, can help prevent any problems with your teeth. Regular exams should occur every 6 months while you are pregnant and more so in times of discomfort, such as morning sickness. 

A dental appointment at Maplebrook Dental includes:

  • An initial discussion involves your oral history, current oral health and any symptoms you have. 
  • A dental exam evaluates your mouth, teeth, and gums. A detailed x-ray may be required. 
  • Dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar buildup. A polish and fluoride treatment.
  • A recommendation on how to improve your oral health. 

Book your dental exam to support your dental health during pregnancy.

Written by Fotini Molnar

Dr. Fotini Molnar started her dental experience working as a dental assistant in a co-op program during high school. She went on to complete her Bachelor of Science, majoring in biotechnology at York University and then obtained her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of Toronto. Prior to her career in dentistry, Dr. Molnar researched neuroblastoma at Sick Kids Hospital.
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