I recently found out I am pregnant after about a year of trying. With so much time to prepare, I’d already chosen an OB doctor and had researched almost everything about pregnancy. I’m concerned that I may have overlooked one thing – my dentist. I’m thinking I should have switched to a holistic dentist because today, when I went for my regular check up, they wanted to do x-rays, even though I told them I was pregnant. During the examination he also said I need to have an amalgam filling removed because there has decay under it. There’s no way I am exposing my unborn baby to radiation or mercury! They let me get by today with just the cleaning, but want me to schedule an appointment for the other procedures. Should I find a holistic dentist while I’m pregnant? — Sara
Congratulations on your exciting news! Your concern is understandable, but let’s take a quick step back. Most dentists will likely want to confirm with your OB that you are not considered high risk before they give you any type of treatment. When it comes to x-rays, many are digital these days and OB’s will usually give the OK because the exposure to radiation is extremely low. Plus, you’ll be wearing a protective lead apron that will shield both you and the baby. If you have doubts about the safety of it, talk to your OB at that first visit.
There are a couple of things to consider as far as the filling is concerned. Mercury exposure is definitely a risk, but bacteria and periodontal disease have also been linked to low-birth weight and even pre-term birth. That’s why it’s so important to keep up with regular dental visits during pregnancy. Before the bacteria continues to spread or get worse, you should probably consider having the filling removed. A holistic dentist (often referred to as a mercury-free dentist) will take every precaution during the removal to ensure mercury vapors are extracted and that not even any small bits get swallowed. It’s actually a very safe procedure that won’t harm you or your baby. Your OB will probably want you to wait until you get through your first trimester and you will be restricted to certain types of anesthetics. Consult with your OB and have them be a part of the treatment plan to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your baby. Good luck!