Welcome to another informative blog post in our health and wellness series. In this edition, we’ll be addressing an interesting topic which is often overlooked – dental health during pregnancy.
Specifically, “Can you get braces while pregnant?” That’s the big question. Good oral health is as paramount as any other aspect of healthcare, especially if you’re contemplating getting braces.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into the possible effects, potential risks, and benefits associated with braces during pregnancy. Are there alternatives available? We’ll explore these questions and many others in this comprehensive overview.
What oral changes occur during pregnancy ?
During pregnancy, there are various oral health changes that occurs and they are all due to hormonal fluctuations and changed routines.
Pregnant women may generally become more susceptible to gum diseases and cavities.
There are also higher chances of them getting infested with bacteria in the gum tissues which results in gingivitis. As mentioned earlier, this condition can happen as a result of hormonal changes and not even necessarily because you had an underlying dental issue.
Additionally, changes in your diet while pregnant, for instance increased snacking (due to high cravings), increased acidity in your mouth (due to neausea and vomiting), and dry mouth could naturally lead to dental caries.
Neglected oral hygiene due to varied food interests, especially towards carbohydrates, during the first trimester can deteriorate oral and dental health.
Regularly going for dental care during pregnancy is advised, and necessary for maintaining oral health and overall well being.
So yes, even if you did not have underlying dental problem before your pregnancy, some hormonal changes can cause you to have them.
And as such, it is natural to wonder if you can get braces or any dental treatment.
Can you get braces while pregnant?
Yes, you can actually get braces while pregnant. It has long been agreed and proven safe by dental and orthodontic specialists for pregnant women to undergo orthodontic treatment which includes wearing these suspenders.
However, because pregnancy may naturally change your dental health, it is necessary to talk with your orthodontist about the fact that you are pregnant, especially when your belly hasn’t protruded yet.
Always let them know before they prescribe any medication or perform any X-rays or other procedure on you.
Moreover, getting braces towards the end of your pregnancy may not be the best timing. This is because initial adjustments to braces can cause discomfort, and it may take a while to get used to them. It’s wise to plan these changes keeping your due date in mind.
Lastly, braces do not interfere with the birth process or overall pregnancy in any significant way. So, if you require braces to align your teeth and improve their functioning, you shouldn’t let pregnancy deter you. Go ahead and get them!
Benefits of getting braces while pregnant
Here are some potential benefits of getting orthodontic treatments like braces:
Improved Oral Health
Braces can rectify issues such as overbite, underbite, or crowded teeth. Proper alignment can reduce the potential for tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can affect a woman’s overall health during pregnancy.
Prevent Jaw Pain
Misaligned teeth can lead to stress on the jaw, causing TMJ syndrome characterized by pain in the jaw joint, headaches, and difficulty in chewing. Getting braces can help fix the alignment and prevent TMJ syndrome.
Misaligned teeth can sometimes make it hard to chew food properly. Braces can align them effectively, making chewing easier and more efficient, quite vital for nutritional health during pregnancy.
Improved Speech Clarity
Misaligned teeth can affect how you pronounce specific sounds. Braces can help fix such issues.
Reduced Risk of Injury
Protruding upper teeth can be at higher risk of breaking during an accident. Braces can bring such teeth back in alignment.
Self-esteem plays a significant part in mental health. Many women find that they feel more confident and happy with their appearance after getting braces and improving their smiles.
Lowered Risk of Premature Birth and Low Birth Weight
Studies suggest a link between gum disease, premature birth, and low birth weight. As braces can contribute to improved oral hygiene, this indirectly could help lower these risks.
What are the tips for wearing braces while pregnant?
It is an undeniable fact that wearing braces is likely to come about with some challenges due to the hormonal and bodily changes that comes with pregnancy.
Regardless, with proper care and attention, you can perfectly manage it. Here are some tips to help you wear your suspenders while pregnant:
So just as we know, hormonal changes in pregnancy is going to make your gums very sensitive and prone to bacteria. And so it is important to consistently brush your teeth (twice daily), and incorporate mouthwash to keep braces clean and bacteria-free.
Talk to your orthodontist
Talk with your dentist or orthodontist and make him aware of the fact that you’re pregnant. By drawing his attention, he’s surely going to adjust your dental care plans and avoid certain procedures when providing treatment.
Additionally, schedule regular dental checkups with him so he keenly monitors your oral health and corrects any issue of the need be.
Maintain Balanced diet
Eating balanced meals will both contribute to a better oral health and overall wellness. Be sure to eat foods rich in calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C to strengthen your teeth and gums.
Choose a suitable time to get your braces
It is advisable that you get your braces and start wearing it in the early phases of pregnancy, as it is going to take sometime to adjust to the discomforts they come with.
Getting them at the later stage in pregnancy may be very uneasy as the pain is likely to be coupled with labor-induced stress and changes.
Use orthodontic wax
When you have your braces causing irritation to the delicate tissues in your mouth, you can apply orthodontic wax to the brackets to lessen the pain and discomfort.
Get ready to undergo adjustments
Work closely with your dentist or orthodontist to ensure consistent corrections and treatments as it is likely that you may make regular orthodontic adjustments because of the hormonal changes impacting your teeth and gums.
Drink more water. Drinking more water is not only going to benefit your health but also important to wash away food particles around the brackets while reducing risks of bacterial infections in your gums and tissues.
What foods can pregnant women eat while wearing braces?
While ensuring oral hygiene in your braces, it is equally important to ensure that you take in foods that won’t cause any dental issues and discoloration of your teeth.
These foodstuffs are sure to get you through your journey. They aren’t only safe for braces but also offer the essential nutrients you need to support your health and the baby’s while expecting. These foods include:
- Soft fruits – Opt for soft ripped fruits like bananas, melons, strawberries so you can easily chew
- Cooked veggies
- Mashed potatoes
- Scrambled eggs
- Oatmeal – great source of fiber, carbs suitable for braces
- Grains – soft grains like rice can be incorporated into your brace-friendly diet
- Seafood – salmon, cod fish, or flakes white fish
- Moist desserts – occasional moist desserts like puddings and soft baked goods won’t harm your braces.
What foods should pregnant women avoid while wearing braces ?
These foods should be avoided while wearing braces because it can make you very uncomfortable.
- Chips – potato chips can cause gummy material to form on braces
- Nuts such as almonds, cashew and walnuts will damage braces
- Raw veggies such as carrots and raw celery can be harmful to your braces. Cook them and make them soft and safer
- Hard candies and gum : sticky and hard candies will adjust and gradually damage the brackets and wires. So it’s best to avoid them
- Corn chips
- Popcorn can easily stuck between the brackets
- Hard cookies or crackers
- Tough meats
- Thick crusts – pizzas with thick and hard crusts should be avoided
What are some potential downsides for getting braces while pregnant?
It is safe to get braces, but just like any other thing, it comes with its own downsides too. Some side effects include
- General Discomfort: Adjusting to suspenders can cause discomfort, and this may be amplified due to the general discomfort associated with being pregnant.
- Gum Inflammation: Pregnancy hormones often lead to gum inflammation or ‘pregnancy gingivitis’, and this condition might worsen due to the presence of braces.
- Increased Oral Health Risks: Pregnancy increases the risk of gum infections, acid erosion of the teeth, and tooth decay. These issues could complicate orthodontic treatment.
- Frequent Adjustments: Pregnant women may need to visit their orthodontist more often due to the changes in their oral health.
- Oral hygiene: Maintaining good oral hygiene may be more challenging during pregnancy, especially with braces. Hormonal changes in pregnancy can make your mouths and gums infested with bacteria, and so the need to brush and floss teeth regularly.
What are some braces alternatives to consider while pregnant?
You can consider these orthodontic treatment alternatives to braces too. But it is important to first discuss these options with your dentist to know which one would best fit your current health needs.
Clear aligners (Invisalign)
These are virtually invisible plastic trays that gradually shift your teeth into place. They are removable, making it easier to maintain oral hygiene. But remember, they require a high level of discipline to wear the required 20-22 hours per day.
Similar to traditional braces in their structure, they’re placed on the backside of your teeth making them less visible. However, they may take a bit longer to adjust your teeth and may be more uncomfortable initially.
These work in the same way as traditional braces, but the brackets are made from a clear or tooth-colored ceramic material making them less noticeable. They are slightly more fragile than their metal counterparts.
If you have minor alignment issues, your orthodontist might suggest wearing a retainer. These devices hold your teeth in their desired position to prevent them from shifting.
Veneers can improve the appearance of your teeth without repositioning them. However, this is a cosmetic solution and won’t correct underlying structural issues.
Six Month Smiles
A treatment that focuses on correcting the appearance of your visible front teeth in a short period. It uses either clear brackets and tooth-colored wires or clear aligners
In conclusion, getting braces while pregnant is generally considered safe and possible. However, expectant mothers need to be aware of certain factors that could pose challenges during orthodontic treatment.
These factors include potential discomfort, oral health risks, and issues related to braces maintenance and gum inflammation.
If traditional braces are not desirable, pregnant women can explore a variety of alternatives such as clear aligners, lingual braces, ceramic braces, and other suitable options.
Be sure to talk to your dentist or orthodontist and make regular appointments and checkups with him to ensure you get the best treatment possible during this special period in your life.