Why Pregnant Women in Traverse City Need Periodontics Care

Posted on: July 1, 2016

PeriodonticsWe provide periodontics care in Traverse City that can both prevent and treat gum disease. While we treat patients of all ages and in all stages of health, pregnant women have a particularly unique reason to visit our office – the health of their unborn baby.  If you are pregnant and unclear of the connection, we recommend that you visit our office and that you also discuss the importance of dental care with your OB/GYN.  While most pregnant women head to their OB right away, few realize the importance of scheduling a dental appointment next.

Pregnant women and periodontics dental care

Beyond the obvious reasons of preventing cavities and infections, pregnant women need to be careful to avoid getting gum disease.  This is because gum disease has been shown to cause babies to be born at a low weight or prematurely.  Both of these issues can cause a baby to spend more time in the hospital in need of  intensive care or struggling due to developmental delays.  These serious conditions are things to avoid and receiving medical attention is an excellent way to do so, as long as that medical care also involves regular trips to the dentist.  We recommend that our pregnant patients have their teeth cleaned twice during their pregnancy.  Once at the beginning, and again in the third trimester.  These cleanings, combined with brushing and flossing at home, can typically prevent gum disease from developing.

There are some women that will still develop gum disease.  This is in part due to blood flow to the gums being restricted as more blood flows toward the growing fetus.  Understandably, the body is exerting a massive amount of energy toward growing and sustaining a new life.  As a result, various aspects of mom’s body receive less attention, the gums included.  This is why having plaque removed from around the gums is so important.  During these examinations, we will look to see if any gum disease has developed and, if so, treat it right away.  Outside of these appointments, you can watch for signs of gum disease by looking to see if your gums are red, swollen, bleeding, uncomfortable, or pulling away from the tooth.  If so, call for an immediate examination.

If you do develop gum disease, we will treat it by performing a deep cleaning to remove the plaque and tartar that has built up underneath the gums.  This is the first step and depending on the extent of the disease, we may need to complete the cleaning over multiple appointments.  We typically prescribe antibiotics at the same time.  Once the plaque (irritant) has been removed, the gums are capable of returning to good health without further intervention – that is if we caught it in time.  If gum disease is in an advanced stage and has caused the gums to pull away from the tooth structure, you may need a gum graft in order to secure enough gum tissue around the tooth structure.  Our goal, however, is to prevent the need for this level of periodontics care.  By performing routine dental care and deep cleaning if necessary, we can help you to stay in good health both during and after your pregnancy.


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