Here at our dentist in Haymarket we take into account all of our patients’ needs and pregnant dental care is one of our more important challenges. Not only is there a great deal of physical stress on a person's body during pregnancy, but there are two patients to consider. Any hazards to the baby need to be accounted for before treatment can begin.
There are many issues associated with pregnancy from swollen ankles to morning sickness, but one of the few rarely spoken of are dental complications. One of the more shocking of these is oral pregnancy tumours. So let's demystify pregnancy dental care.
Common pregnancy ailments we see in the clinic
Hormonally induced gingivitis; there are a lot of hormonally induced changes during gestation, the increased progesterone makes gums more susceptible to infection by gingivitis. The inflamed, bleeding gums in the second trimester are not necessarily painful or disruptive but in severe cases, gum diseases may set in causing sore spongy spots on your gums. If so you should come into our clinic for a check-up. Otherwise, hormonally induced gingivitis usually resolves itself within a few months of birth.
Enamel erosion: pregnancy comes with an increase in the need for calcium. Even with dietary supplementation, the mother's body will extract calcium from her bones and teeth to meet that demand. This paired with the common morning sickness is a recipe for enamel erosion, where the regurgitated acid removes the outer layers of the decalcified enamel.
Oral pregnancy tumours
The tumours or new growths have a variety of vascular and hormonal causes which are more common in the second trimester than at other times. Their sudden occurrence can be very startling particularly for first-time mothers.
They usually start to have a raised, inflamed swelling with a propensity to bleed. Which, over time, migrates away from the original tissues being anchored by a thin strip of flesh, similar to a skin tag. There is quite a bit of variation in how they may appear, with some splitting and bleeding while others become scabby or scaly.
Why do they occur?
The jury is out on a definitive answer; they are more commonly seen at our dentist in Haymarket alone and have been noted in menopausal women. It seems to be a mix of hormonal and dental hygiene issues, but there is no obvious smoking gun.
Are pregnancy tumours dangerous?
No, at worst they are inconvenient. They are not considered a cancer risk and are almost always benign. Assuming that they are not causing issues with eating or talking, they can be left to resolve on their own.
How do you treat them?
If the tumour is painful, they can be surgically removed. This is a fairly simple procedure that we can do in the clinic, using a local anaesthetic with no risk to your baby. It can take up to an hour depending on the involvement of blood vessels.
At our dentist in Haymarket surgery is not considered effective by itself, as recurrence of tumours is common, so the normal advice is to try and improve oral hygiene and use a non-alcohol based mouthwash.
If persistent after birth, the use of hormonal therapies can be used, but we would not consider this a safe option during gestation.