During pregnancy, it’s crucial to maintain good overall health, including oral health.
With hormonal fluctuations and changes to the body, expectant mothers may wonder whether it’s safe and advisable to undergo orthodontic treatment with braces.
In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of getting braces while pregnant and provide some tips for those considering this option.
- Assessing the Risks and Benefits of Braces During Pregnancy
- Alternatives to Traditional Metal Braces
- Tips for Pregnant Women Considering Braces
Assessing the Risks and Benefits of Braces During Pregnancy
Advantages of getting braces while pregnant
Improved oral health
Orthodontic treatment helps correct issues like crooked teeth, overcrowding, and bite problems, which can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay.
Pregnancy can increase the risk of developing oral health issues, so addressing these concerns with braces may provide long-term benefits for both mother and baby.
A healthier mouth can lead to better overall health, as research has shown a connection between oral health and systemic health.
A boost in self-esteem
Pregnancy can change a woman’s body, and some women may feel self-conscious about their appearance.
Improving one’s smile with braces can provide a confidence boost during this critical time.
As braces gradually straighten teeth, expectant mothers can feel more confident and comfortable with their changing appearance.
Potential risks and concerns
Stress and discomfort
Orthodontic treatment can be uncomfortable, especially during the initial period of adjustment.
Pregnant women already experience physical discomfort due to their changing bodies, and adding braces to the mix may exacerbate stress and discomfort.
It’s essential to weigh the potential benefits against the possible emotional and physical toll that braces may cause.
X-rays and diagnostic procedures
Orthodontic treatment typically requires diagnostic X-rays to determine the correct course of action.
Although dental X-rays expose patients to minimal radiation, pregnant women are advised to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure.
While dentists can take extra precautions, such as using lead aprons and thyroid collars, it’s essential to discuss any concerns with both the orthodontist and the obstetrician.
Complications with dental appointments
Pregnancy may cause complications with scheduling and attending dental appointments and things like morning sickness, fatigue, and other pregnancy-related symptoms can make attending appointments more challenging.
Additionally, the later stages of pregnancy might make lying in the dental chair uncomfortable for extended periods.
Post-pregnancy orthodontic adjustments
Pregnancy can cause changes in the oral cavity, including shifting teeth, which may affect the outcome of orthodontic treatment. Post-pregnancy adjustments may be necessary to achieve the desired results.
Discussing this possibility with the orthodontist is crucial to ensure a successful treatment outcome.
Alternatives to Traditional Metal Braces
Clear aligners (e.g., Invisalign)
Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are a popular alternative to traditional metal braces.
These removable, transparent trays gradually straighten teeth over time, are generally more comfortable than braces and can be removed for eating and cleaning. For many pregnant women, the convenience of this makes them more appealing than metal braces.
However, they may not be suitable for all orthodontic issues, and patients should discuss this option with their orthodontist.
Lingual braces are attached to the back of the teeth, making them less visible than traditional braces and whilst they may be more aesthetically appealing, they can be more challenging to clean and adjust.
Lingual braces can also be more expensive and may not be suitable for all cases.
Ceramic braces function similarly to traditional metal braces but use tooth-colored brackets and wires, making them less noticeable.
They can be a more aesthetically pleasing option for pregnant women who want to improve their smiles discreetly. However, ceramic braces may be more prone to staining and can be slightly less durable than metal braces.
Additionally, they may require a longer treatment time and can be more expensive.
Tips for Pregnant Women Considering Braces
Schedule a consultation with an orthodontist
If you’re pregnant and considering braces, the first step is to schedule a consultation with an orthodontist. They will assess your oral health, discuss your treatment goals, and help you determine the most appropriate course of action. Be sure to inform the orthodontist about your pregnancy and any related concerns or complications.
Arrange coordination with an obstetrician
It’s crucial to keep your obstetrician informed about your orthodontic treatment plans.
They can provide guidance on any potential risks and advise on the best time to start treatment during pregnancy.
Coordinating care between your orthodontist and obstetrician can help ensure that you receive safe, effective treatment with minimal risks to you and your baby.
Maintain proper oral hygiene
Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential during orthodontic treatment, especially while pregnant.
Pregnancy can increase the risk of gum disease and other oral health issues, so it’s crucial to brush and floss regularly and follow any additional cleaning instructions provided by your orthodontist.
Regular dental checkups and cleanings can help prevent potential problems and ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy throughout your pregnancy and orthodontic treatment.
Scheduling appointments around pregnancy milestones
Pregnancy can be unpredictable, with fluctuating energy levels, morning sickness, and other potential complications.
To make orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible, schedule appointments around pregnancy milestones or when you typically feel your best.
Inform your orthodontist about upcoming prenatal appointments or ultrasounds, so they can work with you to create a suitable treatment schedule.
In summary, it’s definitely possible to get braces during pregnancy, but there are several factors to consider. That said, it’s very much a personal preference; some women may prefer to start their treatment whilst pregnant, others may wish to wait until their baby is born.
It’s essential to consult an orthodontist and an obstetrician to determine the most suitable course of action, and don’t forget that traditional metal braces aren’t the only option.
Alternative orthodontic treatments, such as clear aligners, lingual braces, and ceramic braces, may also be worth considering.
Ultimately, the decision to get braces during pregnancy should be based on personalized advice from healthcare professionals and a thorough understanding of the potential risks and rewards.