The Anesthetic and the Pregnancy
Thursday August 3, 2000
Dear Dr. Mady: Three weeks ago I had a filling done by my dentist and he used a local anesthetic on me. Today I found out that I am about five weeks pregnant. Should I be concerned and is there anything else that I should watch out for during my pregnancy? -Julie
Dear Julie: In this day and age, having dental treatment during pregnancy is not considered to be a “no-no”. Pregnant women everyday are receiving this care with absolutely no side effects and most Obstetricians have no obligations to treatment during these times unless there are particular complications with the pregnancy. However they do prefer that the dental visits be conducted mostly during the second trimester.
The reason for this is that during the first trimester, organ development of the fetus is taking place and they do not want anything to disturb this. On the other hand, during the third trimester, it can be very uncomfortable for the expecting mother to even lay back in the dental chair for any extended period of time. Additionally, any very stressful situation could possibly induce labor.
If in fact you were pregnant at the time of your visit, the local anesthetic should not be of concern to you. Most obstetricians don’t even wish to be consulted prior to use of a local of this type. They tend to be more concerned about x-rays and the amount of them. Although dental x-rays are very low in radiation, any pregnant women should consult with their obstetrician before receiving them. Another concern is the type and amount of medications prescribed during pregnancy, especially in the case of analgesics (pain killers). Most antibiotics that we use in dentistry and some analgesics are acceptable for the developing fetus, but take no chances.
From this point on, only see your dentist for regular dental cleanings and emergency situations. Any elective treatment or other that can wait, should be delayed until after delivery.
Cleaning and checkups are important since pregnant women tend to develop more dental problems during pregnancy, especially with respect to their gums. These regular exams will help the expectant mother and the dentist also to become aware of any situations that may require immediate treatment. Absolutely under no circumstances should an oral infection not be treated. These types of infections often have a systemic effect, which may harm an unborn child.
Good luck and don’t worry too much about the local freezing. Just make sure to be meticulous with your home care and to consult your dentist if you have any questions or concerns.
This column is reprinted with the permission of the author and The Windsor Star. "Ask the Dentist" is written by Windsor dentist (and ECDS member), Dr. David Mady Jr.. The column appears the first Thursday of each month in the Windsor Star. Readers with questions can write to "Ask The Dentist", c/o The Windsor Star, 167 Ferry St., Windsor Ontario, N9A 4M5