Understanding the Pregnant Dental Patient
The female patient’s physiology undergoes may alterations when she is pregnant, much different from those who are not anticipating. These changes affect her cardiovascular, hematologic, respiratory, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, and endocrine systems, that all adjust to the presence of the baby in her womb. Hence, when she needs dental treatment, extra precautions are in order.
For example, in a 2nd and 3rd trimester pregnancy, if a woman lies on her back (supine position) for too long, she can experience a decrease in blood pressure and cardiac output causing her to be dizzy, nauseous, or might even faint. This may be relieved if she lies on her left side. The patient can also hyperventilate (over-breathing) during the 1st trimester worsening up until her late pregnancy, or complain of difficulty breathing (dyspnea); some may experience hypoxemia (low oxygen levels in the blood). Her circulatory system will also undergo changes, such as physiologic anemia, maximal by 30 to 32 weeks, and an increase of some blood elements, like clotting factors that can cause blood clots. Her chances of a highly risky thromboembolic event (blood vessel blockage due to a clot) are five times higher than non pregnant women.
About half of patients will experience acid reflux of their stomach contents; two thirds will complain of nausea and vomiting, peaking at the end of the first trimester. During dental procedures, the patient should be seated in a semi supine or comfortable position, and any procedure has to stop immediately if patient experiences nausea. There is also iron deficiency and a condition called preeclampsia. It is a liver dysfunction manifesting 3 ways – hypertension, edema and proteinuria (excess protein in urine). Also, pregnant women tend to urinate more frequently and are prone to urinary tract infections that can become serious if left untreated. However, just prior to any dental procedure, the patient has to empty her bladder first.
Next, find out about oral changes in pregnant women in our next blog issue.
Dental Care for the Pregnant Mom in Federal Way
If you are the pregnant patient seeking dental treatment, do consult with our dentist in Federal Way. At Bella Dental, we advise our pregnant cases about options open to them, including the need to not do simple or complex procedures if so warranted. Come for a visit and let’s find out together what we can do.