In general, it is safe to have a root canal during pregnancy. A root canal involves the removal of damaged nerves and pulp from a patient’s tooth. Often, the x-rays a woman may need before, during, or after a root canal are a source of concern during pregnancy, but they do not usually represent significant risk. Women often worry about the medications used for numbing the mouth for a root canal, but they are usually safe as well. Additionally, a woman need not worry about the chemicals used for irrigation or the resin applied during a root canal, as they do not usually harm the developing fetus.
Many people think having a root canal during pregnancy is dangerous and should be avoided whenever possible. The truth is, however, that it is usually safe to have a root canal during pregnancy. In fact, having a root canal may help protect the health of the developing baby. This is due to the fact that an unhealthy tooth can become badly infected if left untreated. This type of infection has the potential to become so severe that it affects other part of the body, but treating the tooth helps eliminate this risk.
A woman’s chief concern about having a root canal during pregnancy may be the need for x-rays. In most cases, however, the risk to the developing child is minimal. The x-rays required for root canal treatment are aimed at the woman’s mouth rather than at her abdomen, where they could affect her baby. Additionally, a dentist is likely to provide a lead vest a woman can use to shield her abdomen if she needs x-rays during pregnancy. Still, dentists usually recommend that women wait to have routine x-rays until after they have given birth; only those that are absolutely necessary for a root canal or other dental procedures are usually performed during pregnancy.
As far as the medications and chemicals used during root canals are concerned, most are considered safe. The drugs that are used to numb the mouth during a root canal during pregnancy do not usually cross the placenta or harm the developing fetus. The liquid used to irrigate the patient’s mouth may contain sodium hydrochloride or a similar chemical, but the amount used for a root canal is usually too little to adversely affect a fetus. Likewise, the resins used during a root canal procedure do not usually pose a threat to the developing baby’s health.