How to Care for Braces During Pregnancy
Pregnancy affects every part of your body, including your teeth. The change in your hormones as well as the increased blood flow throughout your body make you more susceptible to inflammation and irritation of your gums and mouth. So whether you were already wearing braces when you became pregnant or started your regimen during pregnancy, it’s important to take special care of your orthodontic appliances and overall oral health. Make sure you are aware of the special considerations you need to make, and be sure to work closely with your orthodontist to take care of any issues that arise.
Oral Health and Pregnancy
The constant fluctuation of your hormones during pregnancy can create a number of changes in the health of your mouth and gums. Many women experience symptoms of dry mouth, bad breath, or even loose teeth. Likewise, morning sickness can expose your teeth to excess stomach acid and increase the wear of enamel. Pregnancy can also increase your chance of developing gum disease and even gum infections.
Many women also experience significant changes in their eating habits and may cravings for new or different foods. Certain foods can have a negative impact on your orthodontic appliances. Changes in hormones can changes in tooth movement, and if you gain a considerable amount of weight, it can even change the shape of your gums, mouth, and face, requiring more frequent adjustments.
Ideally, you should visit your regular dentist before becoming pregnant or as soon after you know you are expecting as possible. There is no risk in getting dental x-rays at this point, as your dentist can use a special shield to protect you and your baby. Likewise, you can have your teeth cleaned by a hygienist as you normally would, and it is in your best interest to get a professional cleaning before beginning any kind of orthodontic treatment. However, if you choose Invisalign, cleaning isn’t a problem, as you can simply remove the aligners.
Many of your daily hygiene practices should be similar to that before your pregnancy and braces. For example, you should floss daily and brush at least twice a day. If you have metal or ceramic orthodontic appliances, you need to be particularly careful to clean the tooth surfaces as well as the wires and brackets. Some women still prefer a regular toothbrush; however, others find a waterpik to be more effective. You’ll also need to be extra careful while flossing. You may want to use a metal or plastic holder to contain the floss to make it easier than just using your fingers.
When you are expecting, you’re not just eating for yourself. You are also laying the foundation for your child’s nutritional habits and overall health. A healthy, balanced diet increases your chance of a healthy baby and decreases the chance that you will experience any nutrition-related concerns. With certain orthodontic appliances, you will need to eliminate some foods altogether. Popcorn and hard candy, for instance, can increase your risk of breaking a wire or bracket. Likewise, sugary treats of any kind increase your chance of tooth decay, which is a more significant concern with the change of hormones and your immune system during pregnancy. Additional, refined carbs, such as white bread, baked goods, and white rice, have less nutritional benefit and leave a film on your teeth. Instead, opt for high-quality proteins, vegetables, fruits, calcium rich dairy, whole grains, and healthy fats – beneficial for you, your baby, and your dental appliances.
Because pregnancy makes you more susceptible to certain dental issues, it is important to be alert for potential problems that could arrive. Many women find that their teeth become more sensitive during pregnancy. This isn’t normally too much of an issue; however, you may experience more pain after an adjustment or notice that your teeth hurt more between tightenings. Additional pain in relation to your adjustments can also mean that your pregnancy is impacting the movement of your teeth.
Additionally, if you’re experiencing cravings, it could be a signal that you are lacking certain nutrients. For example, if you are craving nuts – a food that can break your brackets or wires – it could actually mean that you need more iron, folate, or B12.
Keep in mind that healthy gums don’t typically bleed and are not puffy or inflamed. These issues could be signs of gingivitis. Additionally, some women may develop small raspberry-like swellings known as “pregnancy tumors.” These are not cancer and typically go away after delivery; however, they may bleed easily. It is important that you make your orthodontist aware of any of these symptoms as you notice them.
When it comes down to it, wearing braces, whether traditional or Invisalign, during pregnancy is not that different than any other time in your life. You can begin treatment prior to or during pregnancy with no significant issues; however, it is important that you pay particular attention to your daily oral hygiene and any issues that develop if you are completing treatment while pregnant. While the timing of your treatment is obviously up to you, it is worth noting that it may be easier to attend to regular appointments while pregnant than when chasing an active toddler.
At any rate, if you follow suggested daily hygiene practices, adjust your diet as suggested, and pay close attention to any issues that may arise, you should have no issues with treatment during pregnancy. Visit Tisseront Orthodontics today to book your consultation.
Schedule an Appointment with Tisseront Orthodontics
At Tisseront Orthodontics in Reston, Va., you can receive a free consultation with Dr. Stephan Tisseront to learn more about your orthodontic options. Our orthodontist takes care of children, teenagers and adults at our top-of-the-line office, and he offers these treatments:
• Lingual braces – worn on the backs of teeth
• Invisalign – aligners for teenagers or adults
• Ceramic orthodontia – made with clear wires and color-matching brackets
It is also possible to reduce your orthodontic treatment time by using a small device from AcceleDent Aura that helps to accelerate the movement of your teeth into the correct positions.
Call us today at 703-773-1200 to schedule an examination with Dr. Tisseront in our state-of-the-art orthodontic facility.
11720 Plaza America Drive, Ste. 110 Reston VA 20190-4762