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Being pregnant is an exciting time but it can bring with it lots of anxiety. Anxiety over doing what it is right for you and your baby’s health. This should include dental health as well since there have been direct links between oral health and our overall health. Once you know you are pregnant it is never too early to start thinking about dental health. A baby’s teeth are already beginning to form by about the 5th-6th week following conception. By the time your baby is born all 20 of their baby (primary) teeth are almost completely formed. Below you will find some helpful tips to care for your dental health as well as the baby’s.

What To Expecting When Expecting Your Baby

Does the calcium for my child’s teeth come from my teeth?

No! This is a common myth but it is simply not true. The baby receives all calcium just like their other nutrients from the mother’s dietary intake.

What’s The Best Way To Maintain My Dental Health While Pregnant?

Maintaining dental health during pregnancy is similar to when not pregnant. To prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease it is important to brush your teeth at least 2x per day, floss at least once per day, and use an antibacterial rinse. Pregnancy gingivitis (earliest stage of periodontal disease) can be especially problemsome especially during the 7th-8th month of pregnancy as hormones are raging. Almost one half of women experience pregnancy gingivitis, starting in the 2nd or 3rd month of pregnancy. It generally increases in severity all the way through to the eighth month. This pregnancy gingivitis can be very uncomfortable and cause inflammation, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gums. If you already have poor dental hygiene and periodontal disease before pregnancy begins, expect an extreme progression in your periodontal condition as you end your first trimester and onward. In some women, gums swollen by pregnancy gingivitis can react strongly to irritants and form large growths. These are called pregnancy tumors. These are not cancerous and are usually painless in nature. This tumor may require removal by a dentist if it persists. Research has suggested that pregnant women who have severe periodontal disease may be at a higher risk for preterm birth and low birth weight

Is Fluoride Safe?

For women who take fluoride supplements during pregnancy, it is expected that the added fluoride will help their children form strong teeth. However, this is a controversial subject and has not been fully studied. Additional fluoride will not necessarily aid in the process of enamel formation because fluoride works best when the teeth have fully formed and have erupted in the mouth. Fluoride changes the chemical bonds in the enamel of the erupted teeth to make it more resistant to tooth decay. More research studies are needed to determine the advantages, if any, and the safe dosage levels for prenatal fluoride supplementation.

What About Medications Used In Dental Work During Pregnancy?

Lidocaine is the most commonly used drug for dental work. Lidocaine (category B – No evidence of risk in humans. This category has shown adverse effects in animal trials but in controlled human trials have been deemed to be safe with no increased risk of fetal abnormalities.) is able to cross the placenta after administration. Any local anesthesia can cross the placenta and cause fetal depression, therefore anesthesia dosage should be limited to the minimum required to keep patient comfortable. Luckily, most dentistry can be completed with very small amounts of local anesthetic, thus causing no danger to mom or baby. A major study was completed spanning about 35 years and tracking 55,000 children. The study showed no evidence of any adverse reactions from local anesthetic use in pregnant women.

Dental work often requires antibiotics to prevent or treat infections. Antibiotics such as penicillin, amoxicillin, and clindamycin, which are also labeled category B for safety in pregnancy, may be prescribed after your procedure. The penicillin and cephalosporin antibiotics most commonly used in dentistry (penicillin V, amoxicillin, and caphalexin) are generally considered safe for use during pregnancy. Clindamycin, metronidazole, and erythromycin are also believed to have minimal risk. Tetracyclines, including doxycycline, have shown to cause tooth discoloration and impaired bone metabolism. As a side note, taking antibiotics while using birth control medications will generally cause the birth control to be ineffective.

Will My Teeth Be Affected By Morning Sickness?

Vomiting due to morning sickness can lead to erosion of the enamel on the back of your front teeth. However, it is unlikely since the morning sickness lasts for such a short period of time. This is more likely to occur with frequent vomiting over a long period of time. If this is a concern of yours be sure to rinse with water and brush following bouts of morning sickness.

When Is The Best Time To Have Dental Work Performed?

Routine dental maintenance can be performed at any time but during third trimester it might be more difficult to sit in dental chair for long periods of time. The ideal time to see your dentist is during your second trimester, since your baby is more vulnerable during the first and third trimesters, when major development is occurring (first trimester) and the risk of premature delivery increases (late third trimester).

Can I Have My Teeth Whitened While Pregnant?

If you are pregnant, it is suggested to hole off from the use of bleaching agents, this also includes the use of whitening toothpastes. Teeth whitening may be resumed after pregnancy.

Pregnancy Conclusion

One of the best things you can do as an expectant mother is to maintain your own dental and general health.This should include a nutritious diet, regular visits to your physician as well as your dentist. A healthy mom will lead to an easier pregnancy as well as an easier time recovering after birth.



Here we are in that time of year when coughs, colds, and flu symptoms can make our lives miserable. Most people turn to over the counter medication to either relieve some of their symptoms or lessen their effects. Did you know that these medicines can result in tooth decay?

Ingredients in Medications that Cause Tooth Decay

Many cough drops and liquid medications contain a variety of ingredients that make you and your child more susceptible to tooth decay:

-High Fructose and Corn Syrup. These high sugar ingredients contribute to tooth decay. These are generally sticky sugars which cause your mouth environment to become more acidic and also give the bacteria in your mouth the sugars to break down and attack the enamel of your teeth. When you combine the sticky sugars with dry mouth, high carbs ingested while ill, and decreased oral hygiene you are putting your mouth at high risk for decay.

-Citric Acid. This type of acid can cause tooth enamel to erode and wear down. In addition, the higher acid levels allow bacteria to do their work at a rapid pace.

-Alcohol. The addition of alcohol in some popular cold and cough syrups also has a drying effect on the mouth. Saliva helps to naturally rinse the sugars and acids away from your teeth. With alcohol present it means less saliva will be present, the sugars and acids remain in the mouth even longer, leading to increased risk for tooth decay.

These risks can be magnified if medication is taken just before bedtime. The effect of taking liquid medication before bedtime is not very different from drinking juice or soft drinks right before bedtime. This is because you produce less saliva while you sleep, sugar and acids remain in contact with the teeth longer, increasing your risk for tooth decay.

What to Do?

-Take Medicine at Meal Time. Take liquid medication at meal times instead of bedtime so that more saliva is produced to rinse away the sugars and acids.

-Brush. Try to brush following each incidence of using these medicines. This will remove any excess in your mouth as well as neutralize the acidic environment these medicines can create. Not only will you be doing your teeth some good but you probably will feel better with a cleaner mouth.

-Rinse. This is just as important as brushing in this scenario. Rinsing with water will neutralize the acids as well as “wet” your mouth so it does not dry out as quickly.

Sugar free gum and lozenges. consider chewing sugar free or xylitol gum following taking your medicine or when your mouth feels dry. Choose sugar free lozenges instead of the sugar loaded ones that sit and stay in your mouth for hours on end.

Drink Water. When we are not feeling well, we tend to drink sugary beverages such as juice and carbonated beverages. Drinking plenty of water will neutralize acids, wash away sugar, and help you heal more quickly.

-Choose Pill Form. If it is available, choose a pill form of the medication instead of syrup.

Conclusion

Medication is usually unavoidable when we are sick.  While you are sick, try to avoid inflicting further complications.  Use good judgement and try to maintain your dental health even when not feeling your best. Managing the type of medication you take, when you take it, and how you neutralize the effects,will go a long way to keeping you healthy and happy.



A dental emergency can arise at any time. We can limit the chance of a toothache type of dental emergency by seeking regular dental care. Most dental issues take months (and in some cases years) to develop. A dental emergency can also occur following even the slightest trauma. Being prepared with a few items in a dental emergency kit can help you to provide care in the case of a trauma or other dental emergency. What are the most common emergencies and what else can you do if a dental emergency arises?

Common Dental Emergencies

Broken or Fractured Tooth – This dental emergency can become quite painful very quickly. If the nerve of the tooth is exposed just the simple act of breathing will begin to hurt. This may also be a “cosmetic dental emergency”, usually if it involves damage to a front tooth without pain. Unfortunately, broken teeth cannot be fixed at home and will need immediate attention by a dentist. For a back tooth, a medicated filling may be placed until you can be seen by your dentist. A product called Dentemp can be purchased at the drug store, mixed and placed by you, to help temporarily cover the hole. Whether or not the tooth can be saved depends on how severe the break is. Until you are able to get to your dentist, rinse your mouth with warm water, apply a cold compress outside the affected area, and keep the area as clean as possible. May consider taking an anti-inflammatory medication to keep the swelling down as well as take the edge off the pain that can develop. It is not suggested to take aspirin, it will cause difficulties in clotting if the tooth needs to be removed.

Injury to your Jaw/TMJ If you suspect you may have broken your jaw, apply a cold compress to the area and immediately go to the dentist or to the emergency room. If you have locked or dislocated your jaw, you will need to have the jawbone re positioned back into your TMJ. Ice immediately.

-Painful swelling. This is a definite dental emergency and you should call your dentist immediately for care. Dental swelling is due to an infection called an abscess. This can lead to an infection that affects your entire body and in rare cases can lead to death. To relieve some of the pressure you will want to apply cold compresses to the area, rinse with saltwater, and try to keep your head elevated. Once an infection gets to this point, most over the counter medications will not do much to ease the pain. Antibiotics will be required, and drainage of the infection will require you to be seen by your dentist.

-Biting Lip or Tongue with excessive bleeding – If you accidentally bite your lip, tongue, or part in your mouth, clean the area and apply a cold compress to help decrease swelling. If the bleeding is extensive, or will not stop in a few minutes, call your dentist or go to the emergency room.

-Tooth That Becomes Loose – If one of your teeth is loose, see your dentist right away. Your dentist may be able to save the tooth. Until you are able to get to your dentist’s office, take tylenol or aleve and apply a cold compress to the affected area to relieve pain.  If the tooth is loose due to trauma, the dentist will most likely recommend splinting the loose tooth to an adjacent tooth or two to allow for the tooth to re stabilize in the bone. a loose tooth can also be caused by periodontal disease which will develop over a period of years. In that case, you may not be able to save the tooth and it may be recommended to remove the tooth and have a dental implant placed instead. Never touch or play with a loose tooth. The more movement it receives, the less likely you will be able to save it.

-Pericoronitis. This is an infection that can happen when your molars erupt into your mouth, a flap of gum tissue remains over the back end of the tooth, becomes irritated and swollen, and can be quite painful. If you experience symptoms of pericoronitis, which may include swollen and irritated gums, a bad taste/odor in your mouth, or you are not able to fully open your mouth, call your dentist right away.

-Sudden Or Severe Toothache. If your tooth is aching, rinse out your mouth with warm water and gently floss around the tooth to make sure there is nothing lodged between your teeth. Call your dentist immediately. This could be a gum irritation or infection, or a tooth problem such as a crack or infection.

-Tooth That Has Been Knocked Out (also called avulsed tooth) – The key here is to clean off the tooth immediately to remove any dirt and debris. You want to avoid scrubbing the tooth, just a gentle rinsing will be fine. If the tooth can be re implanted you should try to do so. This is not always possible if there is bleeding and swelling in the affected area. The second best option is to place the tooth in a milk solution. The milk will act as a preservative and increase the long term chances of a successful re implantation. You should call or see your dentist immediately even if you are able to re implant the tooth yourself. The tooth will probably need to be splinted to another tooth while it heals as well as have your dentist check that it is in proper alignment. The tooth will also need to be monitored over time to gauge the success of the re implantation as well as any long term affects that might happen due to the trauma.

-Lost Dental Filling or Dental Crown Unfortunately, this dental emergency can happen at any time even with regular dental care. If your dental crown does come off call your dentist immediately for instructions. Most drug stores do sell fixodent, or temporary cement to place it back on until you are able to be seen by your dentist. This will limit the possibility of tooth decay developing or tooth sensitivity. The same can be done for a lost filling, most drug stores sell a temporary filling material that can be applied at home. Either way, you will need to seek dental care ASAP to prevent further damage from occurring.

-Damage To Braces – If you suspect or know that you have damaged your braces in some way, you should call your dentist or orthodontist. In some cases, they will want to see you right away (especially if the break is causing pain or discomfort) or they may recommend waiting until your next appointment.

-Food Or Debris Lodged Between Your Teeth – If food or debris gets stuck between your teeth, try to swish aggressively, then gently remove it with dental floss. Be careful not to cause undue trauma to the area. If the object still will not come free, call your dentist for further instructions.

Simple Dental Emergency Kit: 

Dentemp – temporary medicated filling-to fill in broken tooth areas.

Fixodent – to temporarily cement a crown back in.

Floss – to remove lodged debris.

Tooth Saver Container – to transport an avulsed tooth in a dental emergency.

Pressure activated ice pack, advil, gauze.

Dental Emergency Conclusion

Since, a dental emergency can lead to life threatening infections or tooth loss, you should seek dental care immediately. The sooner you are able to seek dental treatment, the better your chances are to minimize any life threatening conditions. Regular dental care will lower the chances of most dental emergencies ever occurring but if they do occur you need to ensure you choose a dentist who will be available to you after hours and on weekends. Many dental offices, will not re open or even take calls directly for dental emergencies after hours. This can be an important question to ask when choosing a new dentist. Be prepared, and you and those around you will be ready if or when a dental emergency occurs.

Dry socket (also called alveolar osteitis) is an extremely painful dental condition that can occur after removal (extraction) of a permanent adult tooth.

Having a tooth removed is generally not something anyone looks forward to. Most people understand there will be some level of discomfort following the procedure.  Many are given a prescription for pain medication before leaving their dentist. Most people in fact do not even need to get the prescription filled. However, when a patient experiences what is called a dry socket the pain can become quite intense and linger for days.

Very few people are affected by dry socket. The development of Dry socket after a tooth extraction occurs in only about 2-3% of patients. For those who experience dry socket it can be a very scary experience. Fortunately dry socket is treatable.

A dry socket occurs when the blood clot at the site of the tooth extraction has never fully formed, has broken free, or has dissolved before the wound has had a chance to fully heal. The blood clot is the protective layer for the underlying bone and nerves, it begins the process of healing so that gum tissue and bone can refill the area. When the clot is gone the bone and nerves are now exposed to the outside air, food, fluid, and anything else that enters the mouth. This can lead to a dry socket with sharp, aching pain that can last for 5-6 days, and in the case of a patient taking fosamax type drugs the pain can last for weeks.

A dry socket is considered the most common complication following tooth extractions. It happens more frequently with extraction of impacted wisdom teeth, in patients with poor blood flow to the socket, (smokers, patients taking fosamax), delayed healing (diabetics ).  The pain begins to build and develop about 2-4 days following the procedure.

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Socket

Signs and symptoms of dry socket may include:

-Sharp, aching pain within 2-4 days after a tooth removal.

explanation of dry socket

Graphic explanation of dry socket…image courtesy of Dental Care Matters

-Partial or total loss of the blood clot at the tooth extraction site. You would be able to visually notice a deep hole or space where tooth used to be, that weeps fluid when pressed vs a blood clot overlaying the site.

-Bone that is visible upon visual examination in the socket

-Pain that radiates from the socket to your ear, eye, temple or neck on the same side of your face as the extraction

-Abnormally bad breath or a foul odor emanating from your mouth. This will coincide with having a bad taste in your mouth as well.

-If you have swollen lymph nodes around your jaw or neck, this is a sign of infection and you need to be seen by your dentist immediately.

Over the counter medications by themselves will not control the symptoms. Your dentist or oral surgeon will need to begin treatments to lessen pain and allow for healing to take place.

Treatment of Dry Socket

Taking a nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drug (NSAID – aspirin or ibuprofen) can help to ease the pain but probably will not be enough to take it away completely. When the pain persists you should call your dentist immediately. The dentist may prescribe you a stronger pain medication to allow the pain to subside for you or give you anesthesia in the office to relieve some of the symptoms for a little while anyway.

paste for dry socket

Paste for Dry Socket

What will your dentist need to do for the dry socket? Your dentist will need to numb and clean the tooth socket. This will allow for  removal of any debris from the space where the tooth once was, and allow for rebleeding into the site. The dentist may then fill the socket with a medicated dressing or a special paste to promote healing and soothe the symptoms. Patients with dry socket dressings generally need to come back to be seen by the dentist every day until the pain subsides. The dressing needs to be changed daily. Warm cloth on the outside of the face also helps promote blood flow.

An antibiotic may also be prescribed at this point to prevent an infection from forming. At home care will include rinsing with salt water and being careful what you eat and how you eat it, ( avoiding the side where the dry socket is ).

The site will usually heal completely following treatment in 1-2 weeks.

Who is most likely to get a Dry Socket?

Some patients will be more likely than others to get a dry socket after a tooth extraction. These include the following:

Smokers. Patients who smoke have twice the chance of developing dry socket over those who do not. Smoking also is believed to slow the healing process.

Poor Oral Hygiene. Those with poor oral hygiene will have an increased risk due to the amount of bacteria in the mouth. Will be difficult to maintain a sterile field when removing tooth.

Having wisdom teeth (3rd molars) extracted. Increased trauma to area during procedure is one of the indicators for increasing the possibility for the development of dry socket. 3rd molars tend to be more difficult to remove especially if they are fully or partially impacted.

Previous history of dry socket. If you have had dry socket previously, you are more likely to develop it after another extraction.

Use of birth control pills. Contraceptives which contain estrogen effect the blood clotting system of the body. So we see an increased incidence in dry socket in patients on oral contraceptives.

Rinsing and spitting a lot or smoking after having a tooth extracted also can increase your risk of getting dry socket. These activities will increase chances of the blood clot becoming dislodged.

Following the removal of a tooth it is very important to follow all instructions given to you by your dentist. If you are unsure of anything you must ask or call back. At first sign of pain or discomfort call your dentist to be sure it is not something more serious. As always, maintain a regular schedule visiting your dentist, as well as keeping an open communication with your dentist. This will make you feel comfortable asking questions and knowing you are getting the proper information to care for your oral health.