Dental sedation is the practice of using medications to help patients who have dental anxiety to relax during their procedure. For some patients, only mild sedation is needed to help alleviate their dental anxiety. For others, they may need a deeper level of sedation to feel comfortable.
Every patient is different when it comes to dental anxiety. Some patients may only get nervous about longer procedures, such as root canals or extractions, while others may need sedation even during routine dental cleanings.
But is dental sedation safe during pregnancy? Here’s what you need to know.
Dental Sedation Is Best Avoided During Pregnancy
Many of the medications used in dental sedation aren’t considered safe for use during pregnancy. Some are safer than others. For example, benzodiazepine drugs, such as Xanax or Valium, have not been proven to be safe to administer on a patient who is expecting based on conflicting evidence .
Other substances used for sedation, such as nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, are controversial for use during pregnancy, and risk to the fetus cannot be ruled out . If you need dental work but can put it off until after pregnancy, your dentist may recommend this option.
What to Know If You Have a Necessary Procedure
Of course, some dental procedures cannot wait, and for these, your dentist will discuss safer sedatives that may be used during your procedure. Generally, dental sedation during pregnancy should only be used during procedures where significant pain, stress or fear are to be expected .
Your dentist will work with you to choose the safest sedative and use as little as possible for you to be comfortable during the procedure if you’re expecting . Depending on the dental work you need, you may only need local anesthesia and not sedative dentistry.
Local Anesthesia and Preventative Dentistry Are Safe
Should you need local anesthesia during your dental procedure, the good news is that local anesthesia is considered to be safe to use during pregnancy . This means that if you don’t need dental sedation to relax, you can still be pain-free during your procedure without worry about the medication affecting your baby with local anesthesia.
Routine dental work, including cleanings and gum therapy, are safe and even necessary during pregnancy, and typically don’t require local anesthesia or dental sedation. Periodontal therapy may be necessary since many women experience symptoms of gum disease during pregnancy such as gum swelling or bleeding that may need treatment.
Questions? Ask Your Dentist
Although dental sedation is best avoided whenever possible when you’re expecting a child, your dentist can help you navigate safer options for necessary procedures that may be frightening or painful for you. And should you need preventative dentistry, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment—these procedures are safe and can even help support a healthy pregnancy. Have more questions about dental sedation during pregnancy? Ask your dentist!