Are X-Rays Safe During Pregnancy?
As an expectant mother, you do everything you can to keep yourself healthy and protect your baby. You make regular prenatal visits, take vitamins, try to eat right (aside from the cravings, of course) and read plenty of books to prepare.
One of the things a woman can do to ensure a healthy baby and delivery is to keep up with her regular dental care. In fact, studies show that women who have gum disease are more likely to experience preeclampsia, preterm labor, have babies with a low birth weight, and pass the bacteria on to their child.
But what about dental X-rays during your regular checkups? Or if you need treatment on an aching tooth?
X-rays and Protection
Dental X-rays, especially today’s digital versions, are extremely safe and use very little radiation. As a precaution, dentists use lead aprons to cover reproductive organs so that radiation doesn’t have the chance of affecting the cells inside of them (which would lead to atypical conditions in offspring.) Due to the cumulative effects of radiation, dental staff make a habit of stepping outside of the room when X-rays are taken.
That being said, they’re still quite safe. In fact, a person will get more radiation from spending a day out in the sun on the beach or on an airplane flight across the country than they would a set of full mouth dental X-rays at their dentist’s office.
The American Pregnancy Association, along with the American College of Radiography, state that regular dental X-rays don’t use enough radiation to have any type of unwanted effects on an unborn baby or their mother.
The Need for X-rays While Pregnant
Active dental infections don’t resolve on their own. In many situations, professional dental care is needed before the situation becomes more complex…or worse, spreads to other areas of the body.
Since most dental procedures can’t be completed without the use of an X-ray, pregnant women who are experiencing tooth pain or oral infections can still safely rely on getting X-rays to diagnose and treat their condition.
When you do, your dentist will still use a lead apron to shield any scatter radiation from reaching your developing baby.
Which Trimester is Best?
Some experts recommend that if you’re going to avoid X-rays, the best time to do so would be your first trimester. However, it’s generally considered safe to see the dentist at any point. That being said, many women feel uncomfortable laying back during their third trimester, due to the baby’s size.
If you’re planning to get pregnant, it’s best to go ahead and catch up on any dental work that you need to have done, or plan to get it completed by your second trimester. In fact, current research shows that women who have trouble conceiving — and have active gum disease — may conceive more quickly once their periodontal infection is treated.
Visit a Kois Dentist for More Information
Do yourself and your baby a favor and schedule a checkup with a Kois dentist near you today!