Braces and pregnancy: what you need to know before getting started
Major life decisions. Where is the time to start a family and also look after yourself and be all you wish to be? Some women may think they need to choose between braces and pregnancy.
We have so much we want to do and yet there is no perfect time to start a family, even though it is a wonderful and magical thing. It takes 9 months to have a baby, and on average it takes 5-9 months to get straight teeth with Straight Teeth Direct™ invisible aligners. With many women asking about braces and pregnancy, here is a breakdown and all you need to know before getting started.
#1 Braces and pregnancy – before finding out you’re pregnant
Compared with other irreversible cosmetic procedures or treatments that require oral or intravenous medication, teeth straightening with braces or removable aligners do not affect the rest of your body so there’s absolutely nothing to be scared off if you’re trying to get pregnant and want to get started with orthodontics at the same time.
The first thing with braces and pregnancy is to make sure you’re dentally healthy, so you have had your dental checkups and any hygiene treatments or fillings you may need. Then once you are dentally healthy you can start any type of teeth straightening treatment – such as fixed braces or aligners.
So if you’ve already started the process of getting straight teeth or in the middle of orthodontic treatment you can continue the process without affecting your unborn child.
The only thing to be aware of is the oral effects of pregnancy.
#2 Braces and pregnancy – 3 oral effects you should be aware of
Pregnancy has 3 oral effects:
1) Increased Gum Inflammation – caused by hormone changes
2) Acid Erosion of teeth – caused by morning sickness and vomiting
3) Increased risk of decay – caused by dry mouth
1. Which braces are better during pregnancy due to Increased Gum Inflammation:
The hormonal changes in pregnancy mean that the gums have an increased reaction to plaque, this means the same amount of plaque and calculus (dried plaque) that would cause a little gingivitis in a non-pregnant person, creates much more gingivitis and gum swelling in a pregnant woman. If this gingivitis and inflammation is not managed through excellent teeth cleaning with an electric toothbrush, plus interproximal brushes and mouthwashes, plus professional cleaning when needed, then the gum health can deteriorate and lead to gum disease.
This is why if you are straightening your teeth it is best to choose the solution which enables the best oral hygiene. Fixed braces are well known for their difficulty to clean and and the increased gingivitis and gum health risks whilst wearing them, so if you also add the pregnancy factor to the fixed braces treatment you will have much more bleeding of the gums, much greater oral discomfort and a much harder oral health situation to maintain.
Clear aligners are well known for their increased oral hygiene capabilities. As they are fully removable, there is nothing to attract food, and the gum health can be maintained in an easier way. Removable aligners would be the ideal choice for someone who was thinking they may be pregnant during the next 9 months or so.
2. Morning sickness and Acid Erosion of teeth – what to do to protect your oral health:
Morning sickness is well known, and it is an uncomfortable phenomenon, and different women experience different levels of it. In principle anything that is highly acidic coming into contact with your teeth will cause some acid erosion (thinning) of your teeth. This needs to be managed carefully. If you have very severe morning sickness day after day, this will have a compounded effect on your teeth, causing thinning day after day unless you manage this proactively.
So after an episode of morning sickness the best thing to do is to hydrate / neutralise your mouth, you shouldn’t brush your teeth straight after, as that will remove the softened enamel layer, instead you should rinse your mouth with water / bicarbonate of soda to neutralise the acid in your mouth and thus minimise further acid erosion. There are also remineralising pastes / toothpastes and these work by absorbing into the tooth surface. Using pastes like Regenerate™ in trays or aligners can help bathe the tooth to absorb the minerals it needs after an acid attack.
3. Increased Risk of Decay during pregnancy – how to prevent it:
Dry mouth can happen for many reasons, and it is very common during pregnancy.
The problem with a dry mouth is we lose the natural protective functions of saliva. Saliva helps neutralise acid decay after eating sugar and also helps keep the mouth comfortable and soft tissues lubricated. Once your mouth is dry, if you have any sugar then the bacteria in your mouth produce acid which then starts to eat the tooth surface – this is called decay.
Normally saliva would wash the teeth and help neutralise the acid, minimising the damage, but when the saliva level is low such as with dry mouth then the decay can progress more and more leading to increased damage of the teeth.
To prevent this it is important to drink plenty of water and also minimise sugary foods & drinks. By having fixed braces this problem is compounded as they are harder to clean resulting in what is known as white spot lesions – where decay happens around the fixed brace bracket, meaning when your braces are removed the teeth are discoloured and unhealthy.
Clear aligners help keep your teeth easy to clean, and you can drink water with them in. For people with very dry mouths it is possible to buy saliva substitutes as oral sprays.
This can help keep your mouth comfortable as otherwise dry lips and cheeks can lead to greater pain and discomfort too.
#3 Braces and pregnancy – Getting started risk free
As you may understand now orthodontic treatment doesn’t affect your pregnancy and normal development of your baby so you’re absolutely safe to start treatment during your pregnancy. As previously demonstrated removable aligners will will be ideal as you can take them out to eat and brush your teeth to keep an ideal oral hygiene and avoid plaque or decays. The only thing that has to be thought of before conception is the x-rays and scans that may be required depending on your case.
With Straight Teeth Direct™ everything is done at your own pace, all the communication and reviews with your orthodontist are done via your secure password protected account where you can consult your conversation history anytime anywhere.
At the beginning of the process you’ll be given the option to share your most recent dental records including x-rays and gum scores taken before pregnancy (as x-rays should be avoided during pregnancy). The most important here is that you’ve seen your dentist recently and if you don’t have x-rays you were told your teeth and gums are healthy.
Here’s what Katie was able to achieve during her pregnancy in the space of 5 months.
She said “I’ve found the whole transformation incredible, little effort and fast results and all for a fraction of the cost that I’d been quoted elsewhere. I thought going for the lower cost option maybe wouldn’t give me quite as good results but it’s clear to see that’s not the case. Couldn’t recommend Straight Teeth Direct more!”
Expecting a child can be overwhelming when thinking of all the things you need to buy like prenatal care, baby supplies, or expenses to cover in the years to come like education.
So thinking about yourself, your confidence and own well being isn’t probably on top of your list right now if you’re pregnant or thinking about it.
When comparing braces cost clear aligners tend to be the most expensive option but you know it’s going to be the best one for you to keep optimal oral health during pregnancy.
Relax! Thanks to Straight Teeth Direct™ you can get the most advanced aligners for a fraction of the cost and all delivered to you.
Overall having a child is a wonderful experience and it is possible to do this without compromising your smile and even improving it at the same time if you follow these tips to keep your mouth protected and prepared whilst straightening with a solution that is more tooth friendly such as clear aligners. Stress isn’t good for your baby when pregnant, so we designed a solution that’s stress free and includes a free e-consultation, to make braces and pregnancy a smooth and happy process 🙂