Can You Get a Cavity Filled While Pregnant?

The Lowdown About Dental Work During Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, you spend a lot of time at the doctor’s office, getting prepped, poked and prodded as you learn how your pregnancy’s proceeding. Slightly less obvious—but of equal importance—in keeping your little peanut healthy are your regular dental appointments. Outside of the increased risk of tooth decay (thanks to those constant cravings for sugary snacks), preventative dental care can also help you avoid gum disease and other oral infections, which have been linked to premature labor and low-birth-weight infants.

Safe Mommy, Safe Baby

young woman portrait with a toothy smile

Can I Get a Cavity Filled While Pregnant?

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Routine checkups, teeth cleanings and other necessary treatments, such as dental X-rays, fillings, crowns, root canals and tooth extractions, are considered safe during pregnancy. If possible, have any necessary dental procedures during the second trimester, from weeks 14 to week 20. The first trimester’s queasy belly and the third trimester’s heavy bladder and aching back can make a lengthy stay in the dentist’s chair nearly impossible. Delaying emergency dental work, however, at any time during your pregnancy could lead to further complications and increase the risk of infection.

Additionally, while some women go the whole nine months with no issues whatsoever, pregnancy can sometimes make existing dental conditions worse. Good oral hygiene helps keep both you and your baby healthy.

Drug Safety and Precautions

No need to fret over the numbing medications your dentist may use during the procedures; a local anesthetic like lidocaine (sometimes referred to as Novocain) is classified as a category B drug by the FDA, which means it’s safe for both you and your baby. More intense forms of anesthetics, such as IV sedation or general anesthesia, are generally advised against in all except extreme cases—and then only in consultation with a prenatal health care practitioner.

In addition to the numbing procedure, dental work sometimes requires antibiotics to prevent or treat infections. Common options like penicillin and amoxicillin are labeled safe for pregnancy in category B.

Be Sure to Ask Questions

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As in all things pregnancy-related, check with your obstetrician or midwife for any special precautions or instructions as to the safety of your dental treatment plans. You’ll also want to be sure your dentist is aware of which (if any) prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs you are already taking. If necessary, your dentist may need to consult with your health care provider to choose which pain relievers or antibiotics are best suited for your and your baby’s needs.