Questions regarding wisdom tooth extraction are quite common for expecting moms. The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can make gums extra sensitive, causing swelling and bleeding. In many cases, these issues affect the wisdom teeth and result in pain.
If you’re having this problem, you may want to have your wisdom teeth removed. But is this procedure even possible if you’re pregnant?
Consult with Your Obstetrician and Oral Surgeon
Expectant moms are justifiably cautious about any type of medical or dental procedure, and the potential effect it could have on the fetus. Some pregnant women have extra risk factors that must be considered when planning any surgical or dental procedure.
For that reason, it’s important to consult with both your obstetrician and your oral surgeon if you’re thinking about undergoing a wisdom tooth extraction. In fact, some oral surgeons request that their pregnant patients obtain approval from their obstetrician before the procedure.
That said, the American Dental Association encourages pregnant women to be diligent about their oral health and to go ahead with any necessary dental procedures that are deemed safe. In many cases, removing the wisdom teeth is recommended. Removing the third molars can be important for reducing or eliminating the risk of infection. Infection can increase the risk of early labor and other pregnancy complications.
Timing Your Wisdom Tooth Extraction
The safest time for wisdom tooth removal is during the second trimester, or when you’re between four and six months pregnant. During the first trimester, the baby is developing major organs, and oral surgery during this time could affect that process. And in the third trimester, many expectant moms find it difficult to sit comfortably in the dental chair long enough for the procedure.
If you are faced with having to postpone your wisdom tooth removal, your oral surgeon may recommend an oral irrigation in the meantime to help relieve pain and swelling. As an alternative, he or she may prescribe an antibiotic if you have an infection. Most pregnant women can safely control persistent pain with acetaminophen.
The Safety of Medications Used in Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Studies have shown that local anesthetics, typically lidocaine shots, are safe for expecting moms. Oral surgeons administer as little medication as possible to pregnant women, but rest assured that enough is given to keep you comfortable for the surgery. After all, any pain and stress you experience could also place your baby under stress.
Other anesthetics, including oral sedatives and intravenous (IV) or general anesthesia, are not recommended for pregnant women.
Dr. Maxfield and Dr. Partridge at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah understand the importance of working with our patients to maintain oral health during pregnancy. If you’re expecting and you think you may need wisdom tooth extraction, call one of our convenient Salt Lake City area offices to schedule a consultation.