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Are you wondering, “Can I get braces while pregnant?” The quick answer is yes, but there are some nuances. Many women are interested in getting orthodontic care when they are pregnant and vice versa. But before they do, they want to know if braces can negatively impact pregnancy, or again, vice versa. The good news is that women can safely have braces during pregnancy. The caveat is that women who wear braces during pregnancy need to be extra diligent about oral hygiene since pregnant women are at a greater risk for cavities and gum disease. And when left untreated, these ailments could be passed on to their babies.

What Effects Have on Oral Health Being Pregnant?

Some of the ways that oral health affects pregnancy involve periodontal disease and cavities. Whether good or bad, the effects of pregnancy affect the entire body, and oral health is no exception. Dental health is, in fact, a critical aspect of prenatal care since a lack of oral health during pregnancy can affect not only the mother but also the baby.

Periodontal disease and pregnancy

Approximately 65% of pregnant women have gingivitis, which is the early stage of gum disease or periodontal disease. Symptoms of gingivitis include red and swollen gums. This condition can worsen during pregnancy due to changing hormones. Besides discomfort and pain, untreated gingivitis can also cause bone loss in the jaw and infections in the gums. When teeth don’t have enough bone support, they may even become loose and require extraction.

Furthermore, periodontitis can negatively impact the baby, causing preterm birth or too-low birth weight.

Cavities and pregnancy

Pregnant women are at a greater risk for cavities as well, mostly due to changes in eating habits. The risk posed goes beyond just oral health, as women whose mouths harbor harmful bacteria during pregnancy could transfer the bacteria to their babies, causing cavities even in early childhood. According to the CDC:

Pregnancy tumors

Some women experience an overgrowth of oral tissue on the gums. This happens most often during the second trimester of pregnancy. While it may appear alarming, it’s not cancer. It’s a swelling that can occur between the teeth, potentially caused by plaque. These growths are quick to bleed and red in color. They will most likely go away once you give birth, but if they don’t, your dentist can remove them for you. To avoid pregnancy tumors, it is essential to make sure you properly clean your teeth and visit the dentist for cleanings while you’re pregnant.

risks getting braces while pregnant

Can You Get Braces While Pregnant?

Women who are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant often wonder if it’s OK to undergo orthodontic treatment at the same time. After all, in some cases, orthodontic care is necessary for better overall health, and when those who are pregnant have more than their own health to think about. For other women, pregnancy can be a time when body image is at the forefront of their thoughts, making many women pursue straighter teeth during this time. But is it OK to have braces when you’re pregnant? Yes!

Are Braces While Pregnant Safe?

The good news for pregnant women wondering how to straighten teeth is that having braces while pregnant is safe. However, it’s understandable why the question is so common, as pregnant women are told that so many things are off-limits. But the consensus among the medical community is that there is no reason why pregnant women shouldn’t get their teeth straightened. That being said, there are some precautions that pregnant women with braces need to take.

Inconveniences Caused by Braces If You’re Pregnant

One of the things that pregnant women with braces may experience is increased sensitivity during pregnancy. Braces are already uncomfortable and painful at times, so they may be even more so during pregnancy. And while nonpregnant women who experience discomfort caused by braces can pop a painkiller, many painkillers are off-limits during pregnancy.

Another problem is that there is an increased risk for swollen gums during pregnancy, and braces are notorious for irritating the gums so that these effects could be amplified.

Additionally, pregnant women should have preexisting gingivitis or gum disease addressed since gum tissues can become even more inflamed during pregnancy.

Inconveniences Caused by Braces If Pregnant

Finally, and perhaps most frustratingly of all, pregnant women who have braces should stay away from all those sugary treats they’re craving to keep the risk for cavities as low as possible.

There are also different types of braces to consider, since some may be better depending on a woman’s particular oral health. Below we’ll go over these options.

Pregnant With Braces: Which Are The Best Treatments

The same considerations should be taken when you and your doctor decide whether you should get traditional braces or clear aligners when you’re pregnant as when you’re not pregnant. Most malocclusion cases that require mild to complex teeth straightening can be treated with Invisalign, but some cases are still only treatable with traditional braces. Let’s do a quick braces and Invisalign review for treatment during pregnancy.

Invisalign

invisalign while pregnant

Invisalign teeth aligners are made from BPA-free plastic and are safe for pregnant women, but there are some things pregnant women should keep in mind. For instance, Invisalign aligners must be worn for 20 to 22 hours per day, and should only be taken out when brushing or flossing. However, pregnant women will want to consider that they might be more inclined to snack throughout the day or have morning sickness, which could require frequent removing and replacing of aligners.

The good thing about Invisalign while pregnant is that there are no wires and brackets for swollen gums and cheeks to catch on, so they might be more comfortable.

At-home braces options are cheap teeth aligners that can straighten mild cases of malocclusion. If you are pregnant, talk to your dentist first about using this option.

Traditional Braces

traditional braces while pregnant

For pregnant women with traditional braces for adults, the downsides are that women need to be even more diligent with their oral hygiene to keep the already increased risk of cavities and gum disease down during pregnancy. That means extra care when flossing and brushing around brackets and wires. Additionally, hormone changes can cause swollen cheeks and gums, which may be made even more uncomfortable than braces.

The good thing is that since braces aren’t removable, except by an orthodontist, pregnant women don’t have to remember to keep them in or where they put them when they take them out like with Invisalign.

Can You Get Dental Work if Pregnant?

Yes, you can. Dental treatment is considered to be safe at any time during pregnancy. That includes orthodontic work and routine dental treatments. In fact, your dentist will probably urge you to go in for a visit while you’re pregnant to make sure that you stay on top of cavities and gum disease. There are some things though that you may want to avoid or should be avoided during pregnancy.

X-rays during pregnancy

Modern dental x-rays use extremely low radiation levels, and one x-ray probably won’t harm your fetus. Furthermore, your dentist will take the necessary precautions to ensure that your baby is protected from the radiation, using a lead apron and thyroid guard. Even so, your dentist may recommend you don’t get x-rays taken during the first trimester.

Anaesthetic during pregnancy

You can have anesthetic during pregnancy if you have a painful dental procedure. Make sure to let your dentist know that you are pregnant, so they can choose the right anesthetics and keep doses low. One exception is felypressin, which shouldn’t be given during pregnancy because it can constrict blood vessels.

Medications

Be sure to let your dentist know about any prescription medication and over the counter medication you are taking. This will help them decide which prescription to write for you. They can also consult with your primary physician to choose the best pain relievers and antibiotics for you to take during your pregnancy.

FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

Are braces during pregnancy more painful?

Yes, braces during pregnancy can be more painful. That’s because hormone changes during pregnancy can cause gums and cheeks to swell and become inflamed, making it easier for them to get caught on metal wires.

Are there any diet restrictions if you get braces while pregnant?

The same diet restrictions apply to patients who get braces, whether pregnant or not. That means staying away from things like popcorn and caramel. That being said, pregnant women should be extra careful around sugary foods, since risks of cavities are increased during pregnancy.

Why is it important to say if you are pregnant in orthodontic emergencies?

Always let your doctor know if you are pregnant, including during orthodontic emergencies, so that if they have to administer medicine or anesthesia, or take x rays, they know to take the necessary precautions.

How to maintain good oral health while wearing braces as a pregnant woman?

Pregnant women with braces should make sure to see their dentist at least once every six months for a cleaning and check-up, and potentially more if she is prone to cavities and gum disease. They should also make sure to follow a strict oral hygiene routine that includes brushing and flossing twice a day, making sure to clean thoroughly around brackets and underwires.

Can you get braces for free?

Many people, pregnant or not, wonder, “Can you get braces for free?” If this interests you, try searching for local charities that offer free or low-cost braces. An excellent place to start looking is your local health center.

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Written by Natalie Asmussen

Natalie is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota and now lives in Tarragona, Spain. She graduated with a BA in Modern Languages and Literature from Beloit College in 2013 with a focus on Spanish, Arabic and French, She worked briefly as a representative for MNSure, the Minnesota Branch of the Affordable Care Act, and then transitioned to a position as a Community Health Worker and Insurance Assistor for a nonprofit called Portico Healthnet in Minneapolis, MN, where she helped people from every income level find access to the healthcare they needed. Since graduating, she has worked as a copywriter specializing in the field of dentistry. She is grateful that she found a way to connect her passion for access to healthcare and navigating the complicated world of health insurance in the United States with her passion for writing. Her favorite subjects to write about include disparities in access to oral health care and providing resources for people who need dental care without insurance.

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