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Dental x-rays in 2nd trimester?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I just got dental coverage and have not seen a dentist in 2 years. I have an appt on Monday to go get a cleaning. The receptionist said they would like to do x-rays, that they double up on the covers for pregnant mamas. Does anyone have studies on if this is safe, makes me a little concerned. I also know dental health is important and I am prone to cavities, so I am sure I need a filing or two. Advice or input would be great, thanks!

post #2 of 15

How far along are you?  I would be inclined to put it off until later in the pregnancy or even after the pregnancy if you're somewhat far along.  I'd be interested in seeing some actual research though, since mine is merely a gut reaction.  

post #3 of 15
I had an xray in the 2nd trimester. I spoke to my ob. I had a broken tooth that had a huge crack in it and they felt that the risk of infection was too greatto wait until after delivery. The ob agreed and they did do xrays to make sure I didn't need a root canal. They did use 2 lead aprons and they were digital xrays which are very low radiation. My doctor said it was the same amount of radiation as you would get during a one hour flight and I wouldn't hesitate to fly so I went ahead.

I also had the tooth repaired with novocaine but they left out the epinipherine. Everything went fine.

I did not look for separate studies but I did feel safe and I'm pretty cautious about these types of things. Maybe someone else will have more than anecdotal evidence. Good luck.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies.

I am 16 weeks.

post #5 of 15

From what I have read, dental x-rays are generally considered safe, even better after the first trimester.  You can always check with your doctor/midwife for an ok.  My dentist is rather conservative so she wanted to get the ok from my OB before doing a crown and lidocaine.  If you feel uncomfortable you could always get the cleaning and exam and do the x-rays later.  If they don't suspect any problems, you may be able to wait.  Dental care is very important during pregnancy.  Like everything else, our gums can get more inflamed, and you can develop dental problems you did not have before so it's very good to have regular cleanings.  Congrats on the new insurance!

post #6 of 15

I just switched dental practices and they wanted to do a full set of xrays - I informed them I was pregnant (second tri) so they said they would do 'minimal' xrays.  Talked to my midwife and she said she'd prefer if I had none at all *unless* I was experiencing pain/discomfort leading me to believe there may be something serious going on.  I'm not so when I went in I told them I had been directed by my midwife to not do any xrays.  The practice said okay they would take a look and not recommend them unless they saw something that concerned them.  Well wouldn't you know it, they found something that concerned them, said I need a 'deep cleaning' and before they can do that they REQUIRE x-rays.  Wouldn't even touch me period, not even a regular cleaning, until doing the xrays.  The hygenist that was checking me out and doing all the new-patient stuff said I could either stay there, do the xrays and deep cleaning and whatnot, or I could try to get an appointment with my old pratice who would probably see me w/o doing the xrays since I'm established there already and try to get a regular cleaning and then decide what to do about the deep-cleaning issue after the pregnancy.  I am skeptical about actually *needing* the deep cleaning given that gum issues get worse during pregnancy so what they're seeing might not even be an actual chronic problem, it could be magnified by pregnancy issues, so I'm avoiding the xrays and whatnot until after the pregnancy is over.  If I was in pain or bleeding all over the place when I brush and floss, I might decide differently.  I called my midwife after the appointment and told her everything and she agreed with my decision to hold off and just take extra care in my dental routine for the rest of the pregnancy.  I'm basically going off of my midwife's recommendation to just avoid the xrays since they do not appear immediately necessary.

post #7 of 15
This is crazy. My dentist always asks if I am pregnant before doing routine X-rays, and does not do them if I am! I agree that when necessary because you are in pain you may need them, but not just for routine X-rays. Also, in my and my husband's experience, some dentists do ridiculous unnecessary treatments (like this "deep cleaning" kind of stuff) to get the extra cash.
Lovenest, I would tell them over the phone that you are pregnant and want to wait until after the birth for any X-rays, to avoid the situation Mrs.Floyd describes. If they insist, you know you will have to find someone else. Mrs.Floyd, I would definitely be looking for a second opinion, even if you have to go to a new practice. Just call around and explain the situation.
Edited by porcelina - 1/31/13 at 7:05am
post #8 of 15

How were your teeth 2 years ago?  If you had no issues then, and you aren't feeling any pain now, I would wait to have xrays till after birth.  That being said, I have 2 huge caries that narrowly escaped root canals, and they never gave me pain whatsoever, and were only visible via xray.  But, I didn't see a dentist for 10 years, not 2.  

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

I needed I believe 1 small cavity filled at the point I had no insurance. I am most worried about a crown I had placed on about 2 years ago, it has a sark spot on it. I am hoping it is cosmetic and not a cavity on the drown.. which would be big trouble. I am going to call my midwife and ask for some guidance as well. I am super worried doing the x-rays, but I know I may need them.

post #10 of 15

Luckily, I got my x-rays before I got pregnant. I knew I was doing IVF and wanted to take care of as much as possible before pregnancy. However, I had a lot of work done and my insurance ran out for 2012 so we had to postpone to 2013. I have a crown I need to get put in. We are waiting until the 2nd tri, but I'm really nervous about doing it. I have major anxiety around dentist appointments and when I'm not pregnant, I do sedation dentistry. I have heard that x-rays are not ideal, but are okay later in pregnancy with a lot of protection.

post #11 of 15

lovenest-Does your crown have a metal base or is it porcelain only?  Is the spot at the intersection of crown and root or just on the surface of the crown?  If it's just on the surface, it probably isn't a problem.  I don't know that decay can go through the metal.  The problem would be if you had decay underneath the crown in the root of your tooth.  If your crown has metal in it, an x-ray wouldn't work anyway to see if there was decay because they can't x-ray through the metal. 

post #12 of 15
I wouldn't get routine x-rays while pregnant personally, if you are having pain or suspect a problem, then yes a quick x-ray just of the problem spot double covered I would do. My dentist always skips routine x-rays while I am pregnant, just pushes them back to the first appointment I'm not, no big deal. Definitely talk to your midwife, it's easier to have her backing you up for talking to the dentist.

Mrs.Floyd, that experience sounds shady to me, I would not go back to that practice if it were me. They wouldn't even do a regular cleaning? That's just silly IMO!
post #13 of 15
Thanks ladies like I said I'm skeptical already. I was recommended the practice by a good friend who really likes it there but she was immediately recommended for a deep cleaning when she started there I think last year as well. Idk it just seems so coincidental. It's not been more than a year since my last appointment and there was no mention at my old practice of needing anything extensive or being in danger of it getting that bad. I know my routine is not usually as good as it could be but it just seems like a lot for it to get that bad that quickly. I can go back to my old practice, it's just a slightly farther drive. But I do plan to go back there as if it's just a normal visit (not mention seeing the new practice at all) and see if they come up with the same recommendation or continue with business as usual.
post #14 of 15

Mrs. Floyd--I have had deep cleaning and it was really helpful in my case.  I had some deep pockets in my gums and my former dentist just kept telling me to floss.  I flossed every day and it didn't help.  My new dentist was more aggressive and my gums are much healthier now.  I don't know whether you really need deep cleaning, but maybe your old dentist would be able to tell you what they think.  If you have deep pockets or bleeding gums and soreness, etc. it might be a good idea in the future.  However, it is not something I would do while pregnant.  Your gums naturally get more inflamed during pregnancy so it may be harder to tell what's going on.  Also, the deep cleaning process is expensive and intensive.  Mine took 2 sessions of 2 hours each and they numbed the entire half of my mouth they were working on.  If I needed it done now, I would definitely wait.  Now I am just getting a regular cleaning more often to help avoid troubles due to pregnancy.

post #15 of 15
Yes they said it would be a 2-session thing with numbing one half of the mouth each time, she gave me a ballpark figure of the cost but then she also said that if I had it done I would then be considered a periodontal patient and they'd want me to come every 3 months instead of the standard 6 months. I do feel that it is possible it could be something I might benefit from, I don't bleed when I floss or have any pain but I can tell where the points between my teeth do not have as much gum tissue as they used to. But I absolutely will not do something that intensive while pregnant so I'm really annoyed that they refused to do a regular cleaning or anything else without a full set of X-rays. I'm going to see what my old dentist says, I may still switch back to the new one afterward but not while pregnant.
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