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Can You Get a Root Canal While Pregnant?

When you’re pregnant, you begin to rethink everything that you do, wondering if it’s safe for you and your baby during this important time.

Things you used to without even thinking twice become a call or two to the obstetrician. If you ever have questions about a medical procedure, food, or anything else, it’s always best to talk it out with your doctor so that you have peace of mind.

One of the things you may be wondering is if it’s safe to get a root canal while pregnant. Since many conditions are connected and affected by your oral health, this can be a common question that many pregnant women have if they think they need a root canal.

We’re going to take a closer look at root canals and whether root canals while pregnant are a good idea.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental treatment that is used to repair and save a tooth that is badly damaged or infected. This is often done to avoid removing the tooth.

During a root canal treatment, the canals inside the tooth’s root are cleaned. Root canals are typically not painful. In fact, leaving the infecting tooth untreated can become more painful as the tooth continues to decay.

Why Do I Need a Root Canal?

If your tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, you may need a root canal. When you don’t treat a tooth that is like this, bacteria can enter the pulp.

If this happens, bacteria and decaying material can lead to a serious infection or a tooth abscess. This can cause bone loss and even losing the tooth itself.

You may have a tooth in need of a tooth canal if you have the following symptoms:

  • Swelling around your face and neck
  • Toothache that doesn’t go away
  • Gum swelling
  • Temperature sensitivty
  • Hole in your tooth

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to visit your dentist to see what’s going on inside your mouth. You may need a root canal or another dental treatment.

Is it Safe to Get a Root Canal While Pregnant?

According to the American Dental Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), dental treatments such as root canals are safe to have during pregnancy. Delaying them until after the baby is born can lead to more complex problems down the road.

dental xray

Many women question whether root canals while pregnant are safe because they often require an X-ray to determine what’s going on inside the tooth. According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnant women can get dental x-rays with the appropriate shielding.

Despite this, some women try to avoid dental work during their first trimester because it can be the most vulnerable time for a baby’s development.

But, the American Pregnancy Association reports that there is no evidence to suggest that a baby can be harmed if women decide to have dental work done during their first trimester.

When is the Best Time to Get a Root Canal While Pregnant?

While you may not be able to schedule a root canal if it’s an emergency, it’s generally best to have dental treatments, like root canals, during the second trimester.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, the second trimester is viewed as prime time because it’s easier to lie on your back for a long time. By the time the third trimester rolls around, it can become increasingly more uncomfortable to sit in the same position for a long time.

Also, by the second trimester, any morning sickness should have subsided. This can make root canals and other dental treatments more bearable.

Even if you can’t have a root canal during the second trimester, you don’t want to put it off. Waiting too long can lead to the infection in your tooth getting into your bloodstream. This can impact the baby and lead to pregnancy complications.

Can I Still Have Pain Medication While Pregnant?

We all know that dental treatments can become uncomfortable. When you’re not pregnant, you may gladly accept any pain or numbing medication. But, once you’re carrying your little one, you’re going to wonder about any impact medication is going to have on your baby.

The American Dental Association reports that numbing medications are safe for pregnant women and their babies. They cite a 2015 study of pregnant women who used anesthetics like lidocaine shots.

Researchers found that women who received this medication during pregnancy were not more likely to have a miscarriage, experience birth defects, or have a premature baby.

The Bottom Line

If you’re pregnant and are wondering if root canals are safe while pregnant, the simple answer is yes. But, you always want to talk to your doctor and dental professional to determine what’s right for you.

Many doctors suggest that the second trimester is the best time to have a root canal or other dental treatments.

This is because morning sickness has usually subsided by now and it’s more comfortable for women to stay in one position for a long time compared to the third trimester.

Putting off a root canal until you’re no longer pregnant can cause more problems. It can lead to an infection that can impact the bloodstream and ultimately the baby.

If you’re experiencing dental problems or your dentist recommends a root canal, discuss the options and make the decision that is best for your health and your baby.