The team at Freeman Orthodontics will tell you it’s never too late to get the smile of your dreams. We have many adult patients who come in wanting to get braces or clear aligner treatment to create the smile they’ve always wanted. But a few patients may be apprehensive about treatment because of a pregnancy. We all know pregnancy causes many changes in a woman’s body, and women have to be extra cautious about their health. They wonder, can you get braces while pregnant? Is it safe?
It is possible to get braces treatment while pregnant. However, there are several things to take into consideration before deciding to have braces treatment while pregnant. Let’s take a look at some of the things you’ll need to consider before getting braces while pregnant.
Safety of Braces Treatment During Pregnancy
The biggest question regarding braces treatment during pregnancy is how safe it is for both the mother and the baby. Does dental health really matter at this time? Do your teeth have to be healthy to get braces or clear aligners? Are dental x-rays safe while pregnant? We have the answers!
Existing Dental Health
It’s important to have good dental health before you have braces or clear aligners, especially if you’re pregnant. Teeth and gums that have problems may not be able to handle the movement braces create. Problems that weaken and destabilize teeth, such as cavities or gum disease, can keep you from getting braces. That’s because a tooth with a cavity may not be able to handle the force braces put on that tooth.
Freeman Orthodontics will give you a thorough examination to ensure you have no major dental issues. If you do, we may recommend you see a dentist first to get any problems fixed before treatment begins.
Dental X-Rays While Pregnant
Many women have questions about dental x-rays while pregnant. In general, it’s recommended that you have as few x-rays as possible while pregnant. However, dental x-rays are different from those you would get in a regular hospital setting.
The radiation exposure during a dental x-ray is so low it’s not considered to be harmful to you or to your unborn child. You can request the minimum amount of dental x-rays, and we will always keep such x-rays to a minimum.
Freeman Orthodontics prefers to use the more modern 3D digital scanners.Our iTero and i-CAT Scanner technology use significantly less radiation than the old 2D x-ray machines or digital scanners. As a result, our scanners are safer for you than the old x-ray machines you may remember.
There are also tools available to make it even safer for you. At your request, you can use a special apron that can be draped over you. The lead-lined apron repels radiation and protects you and your child from any radiation exposure.
Pregnancy Changes and Braces
We mentioned earlier how important it was to make sure your mouth was healthy before you start braces treatment while pregnant. Part of that is because pregnancy causes a lot of changes to the body, including the mouth. Those changes can make braces treatment easier in some ways but more challenging in others.
Teeth Shifting During Pregnancy
Hormone levels change during pregnancy, which means several things change on and in your body. Your dental health can change due to pregnancy hormones. A pregnancy hormone called relaxin can cause the ligaments that hold your teeth to loosen. This can make it easier to move your teeth with braces or clear aligners during pregnancy. It also means we have to be more careful in moving your teeth. We don’t want them to get too loose!
Tooth Loss During Pregnancy
While the tooth shifting can be a benefit during braces treatment, it can also make treatment more challenging. Teeth that are too loose to begin with can be in danger of falling out of too much pressure is applied to them. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re not suffering from any gum disease or jaw weakness prior to getting braces or clear aligners. Otherwise, you may risk losing teeth.
Challenges During Pregnancy and Braces Treatment
Orthodontic treatment can improve your self-confidence at anytime, including during pregnancy. However, there are some extra challenges during pregnancy that we have to keep in mind, though we can work around them most of the time.
Oral Care Routine Challenges During Pregnancy
Braces can make good oral hygiene more difficult to achieve at any time. During pregnancy, it’s even more important to have goood oral hygiene, because pregnancy increases your chances of gingivitis and more advanced gum disease. Braces can make it more difficult to brush and floss properly.
Why is this so important? It’s because studies have shown that oral health issues can increase the risk of early births and low birth weight. Does this mean you can’t get braces while pregnant? Not at all! It does mean you have to be more vigilant with your oral hygiene habits to ensure you don’t get gingivitis during treatment. Freeman Orthodontics can recommend tools to make it easier, from electronic toothbrushes to flossing tools such as floss threaders that make it easier.
More Food Restrictions
Pregnancy comes with its own food restrictions, such as no sushi, tuna, unpasteurized cheese or milk, alcohol, or lunch meat. Braces also have food restrictions, which narrows your food choices even further. Some are things that aren’t great for you or your baby, such as toffee, hard candies, gum, chewy breads, hard chips or crackers, or caramels. Others are foods that are good for you but that can damage your braces, such as raw apples, carrots or other hard vegetables. You still have plenty of other dietary options, so all is not lost!
Teeth Sensitivity and Pain Management While Pregnant
Braces and clear aligners can cause sensitivity in your teeth and gums. So can pregnancy. Combined, they can cause your teeth to become more sensitive than they normally would during braces treatment.
The problem is that normal methods to deal with this are limited during pregnancy. Over-the-counter painkillers are often used to cope with tooth or gum discomfort during braces treatment. However, use of these drugs is curtailed during pregnancy.
The good news is, there are still methods that can help your teeth and gums during pregnancy. One of these tried-and-true methods is to rinse your mouth with warm saltwater, which relieves pain and strengthens the gums. Just make sure you spit out the water. You don’t need the extra sodium getting into your system!
Getting Braces Treatment During Pregnancy
While there are challenges to braces treatment during pregnancy, it’s certainly possible to get treatment during and after your pregnancy. If you’re in the San Jose, CA, area, Freeman Orthodontics can help you get the smile of your dreams even during your pregnancy. Start with a virtual consult and see what we can do for you! Most braces treatment lasts longer than nine months, so expect to see that baby before you see your finished smile. But you’ll get that smile of your dreams with us!