Dear Dr. Hall,
I just found out that I’m 5 1/2 weeks pregnant. I have a problem with my lateral incisors and want them bonded, but don’t want to do anything to harm my baby. These teeth were lengthened by a general dentist, and the work he did looks too translucent. Can I have cosmetic dentistry done while I’m pregnant?
Sincerely, Amy (aka “Worried and Waiting”) in New Jersey
The type of bonding work you would need done probably won’t require local anesthetic, so your pregnancy wouldn’t likely be a factor. If it does require local anesthetic, the dentist will likely advise that you wait a few weeks until you are in your middle trimester.
The general rule for dental work and pregnancy is that you want to schedule routine dental work during the middle trimester of your pregnancy. During the first trimester of pregnancy, the baby is the most vulnerable, and so little is understood about the drugs that could affect the baby. In the middle trimester, the critical part is past, and routine dental work is no problem. Local anesthetic has been used many times on women that are pregnant, and there is a high degree of confidence that it has absolutely no effect on the baby. Even so, there is such uncertainty about the effects of drugs on the baby during the earliest stage of pregnancy, that anything requiring local anesthetic, if it can wait, should wait.
In the third trimester of pregnancy, the stress of dental procedures becomes a factor, and so it is advised to wait until the baby is born before having routine dental work.
While it isn’t cosmetic dentistry, just so that you understand, emergency dental work, such as root canal treatment to treat an abscessed tooth, or the extraction of infected wisdom teeth, should be performed when they are needed, even if you are pregnant. An infection in the mouth has more potential to harm your baby than the dental work.