Is It Safe to Get My Teeth Whitened While Pregnant?

I’ve been looking forward to getting my teeth whitened. I have an appointment next week. This morning, I just found out I’m pregnant. Is it still safe for me to get them whitened or do I need to wait until after I have the baby?

Chrissy P.

Dear Chrissy,

Congratulations! It’s so exciting to have a newborn in the house. I don’t know if this is your first child, but it’s the most challenging and rewarding thing you’ll ever do.

As far as teeth whitening and pregnancy goes, the truth is we don’t know. It’s been put on the “not recommended” list. That’s not because we know anything bad will happen. In order for it to be declared safe, it has to go through controlled studies where expectant moms have teeth whitening done while pregnant and then we wait and see if it has any adverse effects on the baby. As you can imagine, there aren’t too many moms queuing up to have their unborn child be the guinea pig.

That doesn’t mean it will cause harm, just that we don’t know. That probably has given you no definitive direction to go, but it’s all the data we currently have. I will say there haven’t been any reports of babies having any negative effects from mothers that have gone ahead with their work.

Most obstetricians will recommend you put off any unnecessary treatments. That’s not the same as if you have decay or a tooth infection. Those need to be dealt with, because leaving an untreated infection has been linked to premature delivery and low birth weight. You also don’t want to risk passing an infection onto your child. There are antibiotics which are safe to use while preganant. Never put off a dental emergency.

Again, congratulations!

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How Can I Get My Dentist a Best Dentist Award?

I saw a dentist advertise that he’s been voted “Best Dentist” in our state. I don’t have anything against this dentist, but I’d love for my dentist to get nominated. He’s one of the most giving people I’ve ever met. Not only does he do a great job, but when my husband lost his job and my daughter got a cavity, he did all the work pro bono. He didn’t have to do that. We didn’t even ask. He heard about it from someone else and just offered. When I needed some bonding done because of a chipped tooth it was done beautifully. He’s just a great dentist. So, I want to get him recognized as well. I’m asking you because I’ve heard you’ve won awards, but you’re in a different state from my dentist. So, no competition. Haha

Penelope G.

Dear Penelope,

There are different types of awards dentists can win. Sometimes, they’re clinical awards within the industry. Those are generally awards given in cosmetic dentistry for dentists who do beautiful work. Another type is a peer award where dentists in a state will vote for dentists they think do a great job. Neither of those will you be able to impact. However, some cities do “Best” awards. Usually it’s a local magazine where patron can vote for their favorite restaurant, dance studio, dentist, etc.. That one you could have an impact on by voting for him.

However, there are other things you can do which will both encourage him and build up his business. The first is simply write him a letter letting him know how much his kindness and beautiful work has meant to your family. At times when he’s exhausted, the memory of that note may keep him going.

Another thing you can do is write him great reviews on site like Google and Yelp. When people move into an area and are looking for caregivers those reviews hold weight. The same can be said when patients are unhappy with their caregiver and are looking for another. Knowing that you’ve had a great experience with your dentist may bring him more clientele.

It’s lovely to know patients notice the extra effort dentists put into their work. Be specific in your review, especially about the cosmetic work you’ve had done. Let them know you obtained beautiful results.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.