Can You Get Root Canal While Pregnant?

If you’re pregnant and have a toothache, you might have thought of root canal, probably among your options for dental treatment. You may marvel if it’s safe to get it at this time.

The answer is mostly yes, it is safe to get a root canal surgery while expecting. It is important to treat infections quickly in your body because they can harm your baby as much as they can to you.

The American Dental Association has accepted the second trimester as the best period to undergo any dental treatment including root canals. This is because your baby is still developing in the first trimester. And it becomes very uncomfortable to lie down for long hours during the third trimester.

Dentists will always try to make your surgery as safe as possible. There are modern x-rays that use less radiation to see inside your tooth. Plus they’ll only give you restoratives and pain killers that are pregnancy-safe.

Always inform your dentist about your pregnancy, that way, they can take extra care and make sure both you and your little one are safe.

Can an infected tooth harm my unborn baby?

Yes, your infected tooth won’t only harm you but your baby.  Infected tooth harbors bacteria that could eventually reach your bloodstream if not treated ASAP.

According to the National Library of Medicine, severe dental infections could lead to preterm birth, where labor occurs earlier than expected, and other times, lightweight babies.

The key has always been to get treated. Your dentist can help you manage a tooth infection safely during pregnancy using procedures such as root canal.  They might also suggest other safe ways to treat the problem and can work with your OB-GYN to ensure you and your baby stay healthy.

Are root canals safe for pregnancy?

It is all right for pregnant women to undergo root canal treatment. The procedure is designed to save a decayed tooth and relieve your pain. Usually, the main issue people have with this is the use of the x-rays and anaethesia.

Modern dental practices have made significant advances, meaning that the amount of radiation in dental X-rays is extremely low, especially when a lead apron is used to shield your abdomen.

As for anesthesia, dentists usually choose medications that are safe to use during pregnancy. This ensures the surgery is absolutely safe for the expectant mom.

The timing is another important factor. As discussed, the second trimester is often the ideal time for all elective dental procedures which includes root canals.

The first trimester is the most delicate period as the baby is still forming. By the second trimester, development is almost through, so it becomes safer.

In the third trimester, lying on your back for longer periods becomes uneasy because baby exerts much pressure on your blood vessels. This could restrict blood flow and harm both of you. Thus, earlier is better.

You should talk to your dentist and tell him or her about your pregnancy anytime. This allows them to take measures to ensure your safety and that of the little one.

How can pregnant women quickly recover from a root canal?

Here are some tips for expectant mothers to help ensure a smooth recovery after a root canal.

1. Follow your Dentist’s advice:

After the procedure, your dentist will keep you abreast of the guidelines to take care of your mouth.

They might advise that you skip eating until the numbness go away, just so you don’t bite your cheek. They’ll also specify which foods to eat and which to stay off for a while.

Your dentist might also give you a mouth rinse to help your mouth heal. Be sure to use just as they say. If they tell you to rinse twice in a day, go ahead but don’t overdo.

Most of the time, they’d ask that you come for regular checkups. Be sure not to skip them as that’s the only way they can detect little problems before they turn into big ones.

Also, if there’s any issue baffling you, let them know. It’s always better to ask and be sure than wait till something gets wrong.

2. Take your medications as directed:

Since your dentists know of your pregnancy, they’ll give you medicines that are safe for both you and the little one. These might be for pain or to stop an infection. 

Taking these medicines helps you stay comfortable and keeps any bad germs away from your tooth, so things can heal up nicely.

The directions on the bottle will tell you how much medicine to take and when. Maybe it says to take one pill three times a day after eating. 

That means you should have a full meal, then take one pill, and do that three times spread out over the whole day. Try to take the pill at the same times each day, too.

If the medicine is for pain, you’ll probably use it when you start feeling a bit sore. But don’t wait until the pain is really bad; take it early so you can stay on top of it. 

If it’s antibiotics, you need to pop all the pills because the germs might not all be gone even if you start feeling better.

What you should avoid is taking more meds than prescribed. Doing so can harm your baby just as it can do to you.  And, don’t share your medicine with anyone else. 

If you get any weird feelings or the pain is super bad after taking the meds, tell your dentist or doctor right away. They need to know, so they can keep you and your baby safe.

3. Eat Soft Foods:

Your mouth might feel sore after this surgery. And eating soft foods means your molars and gum would only have to work less to break down your consumables. This keeps the discomfort to a minimum and avoids irritating the area that’s trying to heal.

Moreover, soft foods will also help you eat well. You need vitamins and minerals at this time and soft foods are a powerhouse of these nutrients. For instance, smoothies can perfectly load the fruits and veggies you need and even protein powders in a much more convenient way. 

Soups can also pack the vegetables and proteins without having to chew more. Yogurt and puddings also come in varieties, they’re easy to eat and would help you meet your dietary needs. 

There are a few caveats to consider when choosing soft foods after a root canal. First off, check the temperature. Always go for lukewarm foods because too hot or cold meals can tenderize your mouth.

Also, you should hydrate. Drinking plenty of water helps with this and even helps clean your mouth and speed up the healing process. Reintroduce other foods back into your diet as you feel better. If something feels off, or if some things cause discomfort, it won’t hurt to stick with the soft foods a bit longer.

4. Practice good oral hygiene:

Good hygiene would ensure a speedy recovery. Here’s the lowdown on how to take care of your mouth during this time:

  • Brush Gently: You would still need to clean your teeth. But this time, got to be gentler around the area of the surgery. Use soft-bristled toothbrush just so you don’t irritate your gum. 
  • Floss with Care: Flossing is a must, even now, but you’ll want to be a bit more careful. Gently slide the floss between your teeth and avoid pushing it too hard around the treated area. It’s about keeping the gaps between your teeth clean without causing any unnecessary pressure on your gums.
  • Use Fluoride Toothpaste: Fluoride is like a guard for your teeth. Using fluoride toothpaste strengthens the teeth and prevents cavities. Especially now, when your mouth and teeth are in a frail state, you want to make sure they bounce back as strongly as possible in no time.
  • Rinse but Choose Wisely: Mouthwash is equally important when it comes to keeping your mouth clean. However, pick one that’s free from alcohol. You know alcohol can provoke the inside of your mouth. There are plenty of mouthwashes made to help you heal without causing a sting. 
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty water isn’t only good for your body, your mouth needs it too. Water helps to wash away the food particles and bacteria. This would keep your mouth and gum clean.

5. Catch enough sleep and take it easy

Your body is already doing a lot, growing a baby, and now it also needs to heal from this dental work. Simply put, resting is one of the best ways to help your recovery go faster.

Think of a root canal like a big project your mouth just finished. It needs time to tidy up and get back to normal. Resting is how you give it that time. 

When you’re taking it easy, you’re letting your body use all its superpowers to fix everything up without any distractions. And because you’re pregnant, your body is even busier than usual, so that rest becomes extra valuable.

You might notice some swelling or pain in the spot where you had your root medication. And taking more rests and staying calm can actually help you heal faster.

Stress is another thing to think about. When stressed out, our bodies can’t recover as well as they should. If you keep getting busier with so much workload after your root canal, you might only end up getting more stressed.

Sometimes, stress might even trigger these swells and pain in the spot of the surgery. That’s why it’s crucial to rest more.

Alternatives to Root Canal for pregnant women

There are some alternatives to root canals that you can consider, which can be safer or more comfortable during pregnancy.

1. Pulp Capping

With this dental treatment, your dentist puts a dressing over the pulp which aims at protecting it. Pulp is the inmost part of the tooth where the blood vessels are.

This can be a great option if the damage isn’t very serious. It gives the tooth a chance to heal and retain until your baby is out, after which you can decide on a more permanent solution. 

2. Tooth Extraction

Another option might be to just get rid of the tooth, especially if its overly damaged. This procedure is called extraction. While it sort of sounds scary, it can sometimes be the ideal solution as far as your health and the baby’s are concerned. 

3. Waiting until Childbirth

Sometimes, if the problem isn’t too serious and can be managed, your dentist might suggest waiting until after childbirth to perform a root canal or other extensive dental work on you. 

This can be a good choice if there aren’t any infections and you’re not getting awkward symptoms. In the meantime, your dentist can give you guidelines for managing the little pains and keeping your teeth in good shape.

Your situation might always be different from your pregnant pals. That’s why you should keep that chat going with your doctors. This way, you are guaranteed of getting quick professional advice once you have any dental troubles.

Also Read: Can You Get Your Wisdom Tooth Removed During Pregnancy?

What dental procedures should be avoided during pregnancy?

It’s good news that most routine dental works are safe during pregnancy. This comprises all preventive, diagnostic, and restorative therapies; such as cleanings, fillings, and even emergencies like extractions and root canals when needed. 

However, while necessary treatments shouldn’t be delayed, there are some considerations and procedures to approach with caution or potentially avoid.

Most dental professionals and guidelines advice pregnant women to be super careful about cosmetic dental procedures. These aren’t urgent and can usually wait until after your baby is born. 

Some of these cosmetic treatments include teeth whitening or veneer, basically any method designed to improve the appearance of your teeth instead of their health. 

The timing for certain necessary dental treatments might also be modified. For example, while dental x-rays are usually safe for expectant moms with proper shielding, many dentists would want to hold on, except they are very necessary. 

Even that, they’d opt to do them in the second trimester because that’s when baby’s organs are mature, and you can lie down for longer hours as compared to when you’re in the third trimester. 

It’s essential to keep up with your oral health during pregnancy and to communicate with both your dentist and doctor about any treatments.

Can root canal cause miscarriage?

Root canals are absolutely safe during pregnancy and there is no research that it can lead to a miscarriage.  This procedure aims at saving a decayed or infected tooth. 

The idea that it may lead to miscarriage is a total myth. There’s no research anywhere that says getting this operation would make you lose your baby.

Instead, not treating an infected tooth that can be riskier. An infected tooth can breed more bacteria that could circulate into your bloodstream and cause health issues for both yourself and the little one.  That’s why It’s important to take care of dental infections right away, even during pregnancy.

Dentists always take extra care, especially when performing such operations on expectant moms. 

They avoid certain medications that are not very safe and use protective shielding for X-rays to ensure both of you are safe.

Conclusion – Can Pregnant Women Get Root Canal?

So, you can safely get a root canal while pregnant. It’s a myth that root canal treatments cause issues like miscarriage

Infact, managing a tooth infection with a root canal is important for your health and your baby’s health too. Not treating an infected tooth can harm you and baby instead.

When you need to get root canal or any dental treatment during pregnancy, be sure to inform your dentist about your pregnancy.

This way, they can utilize all the necessary steps to keep you and your baby safe, like waiting until you’re in your second trimester and prescribing pregnancy-safe meds.

Georgina Austin

Georgina Austin

Georgina is a certified midwife, a seasoned writer and a mother of twins - Noel and Noelle. She brings to this blog eleven years of experience in maternity support, coupled with her personal motherhood adventures to give you factual information on women's health.

Aside writing on pregnancy and breastfeeding, she writes on sexual health concerns, birth control guides, egg donation, sibling dynamics, and balancing the demands of multiple children.