Pregnancy affects the body in many ways, some of which can be surprising, and even a little alarming. You might not realise that pregnancy can affect your dental health, but your body begs to differ. Pregnancy can affect your teeth and gums in ways you may not have anticipated, and certainly don't welcome — which is definitely the case if you should experience loose teeth during pregnancy. This development is undoubtedly concerning but doesn't necessarily require any treatment. However, in some cases, you may be referred to a periodontist.
A Specialist Field
Periodontics is a specialist field of dentistry, concerned with diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the supporting structures of your teeth. Loose teeth during pregnancy indicate that your teeth's supporting structures have altered. This is actually quite common, and largely affects the periodontal ligaments that help anchor your teeth to your jaw.
Gingivitis and Loose Teeth
During pregnancy, your body produces elevated levels of progesterone and oestrogen. These hormones affect your immune response, altering the function of gingival blood vessels and periodontal cells, as well as your body's ability to manage the oral bacteria that cause dental plaque. This all means that gingivitis (inflammation of your gums) is common during pregnancy. Your periodontal ligaments can similarly become vulnerable and may lose some of their rigidity — becoming slightly elasticated, which can make your teeth loosen. This loosening is generally minor, and your periodontal ligaments will restore themselves after you give birth. But when are loose teeth in pregnancy a cause for concern that warrants help from a periodontist?
The Severity of Symptoms
Loose teeth during pregnancy can typically be managed by eating appropriately (sticking to soft foods). However, if your teeth and gums weren't as healthy as they could have been before you got pregnant, you may experience more pronounced symptoms during pregnancy. If your gingivitis has become severe and your periodontal ligaments have been affected, you'll need treatment. What does this involve?
At a minimum, a periodontist will perform a deep cleaning on your teeth to eliminate plaque. Your gingival tissues can then begin to recover. You may also need antibiotics to combat the bacterial infection that has caused your symptoms. Of course, you will be prescribed antibiotics that are safe to use during pregnancy. Loose teeth can be secured by splinting, which is when the periodontist adds a small splint (fibreglass is a standard material) to the rears of your teeth, bonding them together for extra stability. This splint will be removed after you have given birth and your periodontal ligaments have returned to their former state.
Obviously, loose teeth and inflamed gums can be concerning, but they're not that out of the ordinary during pregnancy. You should be assessed by your dentist, and when specialised assistance is needed, you'll be referred to a periodontic clinic.Share
28 March 2022
As a retired dentist, I work with charities which visit developing countries and educate children about dental care. It gives me great satisfaction to revisit these communities and see how proud the children are of their efforts. I am acutely aware that good dental hygiene can help prevent a range of serious conditions when these children become older. I started this blog because it greatly distresses me that many people in Australia do not seem to care for their teeth as much as children in these poor communities. This is happening despite ready access to items like toothbrushes and toothpaste which are luxuries in the places I visit. It is my hope that this blog encourages you not to take dental health for granted. My greatest wish is that you can be as inspired as the children I see in my charity work. Please read on and enjoy.