Pregnancy offers a legitimate excuse to get out of quite a few things. After all, you're carrying a baby, so it's perfectly reasonable that you might be too tired to cook, do housework, or go to dinner with those friends of your partner who you don't really like. However, pregnancy isn't an excuse to miss your regular dental appointments, and preventive dentistry can help to keep your oral health at an optimum while you're expecting. But what about when your dentistry needs are more significant? Can you have a missing tooth replaced with a dental implant during your pregnancy?
Implants and Pregnancy
Dental implant surgery is not recommended during pregnancy. Why is this the case?
- A dental implant sometimes requires bone grafting prior to implantation. This is performed when the patient's jaw bone lacks the density to support the implant, which is caused by bone resorption when the jaw no longer has to anchor the missing tooth. Bone grafting is often performed under general anesthesia.
- The implantation itself is typically performed under local anesthesia, although some patients may benefit from partial sedation during the process.
- Diagnostic testing is required prior to the process. This can include x-rays, and while these can safely be performed during pregnancy, dentists will prefer to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure to a pregnant patient, regardless of the minimal risk involved.
So essentially, dental implants are not recommended during pregnancy due to a combination of exposure to anesthesia, radiation exposure during diagnostic testing, and the physical demands of recovery. The risk of harm is extremely low; however, your dentist may suggest that any risk is unacceptable, and you'll probably agree. So what should be done about your missing tooth?
A Slight Delay
Your dentist will suggest that your dental implant is delayed until after you've given birth, eliminating the chance of any complications for your unborn baby. This is in everyone's best interests, but it doesn't solve the problem of your missing tooth.
A Temporary Solution
While the dental implant will ultimately become the permanent replacement for your missing tooth, you should talk to your dentist about temporary replacements. These are largely cosmetic, but can efficiently conceal the gap in your smile. Your dentist might suggest a dental flipper, which is a single prosthetic tooth attached to a removable partial denture.
Your pregnancy can rule you out as a suitable candidate for a dental implant, but this is only temporary. You'll be able to safely undergo the process once your baby has been delivered.