Are dental x-rays safe during pregnancy?
Pregnancy can be an exciting time for expecting mothers. During this time, a mother’s body is undergoing physical and biological changes. This does not mean that a mother should avoid dental care. It is vitally important to seek prenatal care and maintain good oral hygiene. The biological changes do not only affect a women’s body, but hormones can affect the gums and teeth. The increased hormones can cause gums to bleed, increase tooth sensitivity, and irritation. For these reasons, it is recommended that a mother should continue to seek dental care during pregnancy. A question often asked about dental care during pregnancy is the safety of dental x-rays. Having a dental x-ray during pregnancy is not uncommon and sometimes requires for proper diagnosis and treatment. The amount of radiation from x-rays is relatively low and does not pose significant harm to the mother and fetus.
Why may a dental x-ray during pregnancy be necessary, and how are you protected?
If you are pregnant, make sure to let your dentist know. If you are pregnant, your dentist may postpone some procedures until after your pregnancy. However, if it is medically necessary to continue treatment, it is not usually something that can be delayed until after birth. Delaying emergency dental procedures can be more harmful to you and your baby. To reduce the risk of radiation exposure to the baby, your dentist may cover your abdomen with a lead apron. This protects and shields the baby during the x-ray. According to the FDA, x-rays of the mother’s lower abdomen, stomach, pelvis, lower back, or kidneys may expose the unborn child to the direct x-ray beam. For this reason, most radiation from dental x-rays are often directed away from the pelvis and abdomen and poses little risk. The lead apron may feel heavy on your stomach, and the weight does not harm the baby since X-rays are taken rather fast.
Mothers are not just patients, but also caregivers should take steps to avoid radiation exposure.
If you are taking your child to the dentist for x-rays and think you are pregnant, do not hold your child. Consider bringing their father or grandparents to help. This will help minimize unnecessary radiation exposure. If you are not pregnant and asked to hold a child during a dental x-ray, make sure to ask your dentist for a lead apron to protect your reproductive organs.
If you have concerns or questions about dental care during your pregnancy, be sure to contact California Dental Group at (800) 407-0161.