Oral Health Care for the Pregnant Pediatric Dental Patient


This best practice provides recommendations regarding preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic oral health care for pregnant youth. Recommendations emphasize the benefits of a non-cariogenic diet and nutritious foods essential to proper fetal development. The safety of prescription and over-the-counter medications is reviewed, and oral health care providers are advised to maintain awareness of benefits, risks, and side effects of pharmacotherapeutic agents for pregnant patients. Likewise, providers should understand the effects of smoke, tobacco, and illicit substances during pregnancy and counsel patients regarding the negative consequences of exposure. Common oral conditions associated with pregnancy, such as dental erosion, dental caries, xerostomia, gingivitis, and pyogenic granulomas, are reviewed. Components of dental care that require special considerations for the pregnant patient include history intake, assessment of risk for caries as well as periodontal diseases, screening for hypertension, and timing of preventive, restorative, and emergency care. Radiation safety, with emphasis on the as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) principle, is addressed. The document highlights educating the pregnant patient and providing anticipatory guidance to improve oral health during and after pregnancy. Lastly, oral health care providers are encouraged to review state laws and regulations pertaining to consent of pregnant minors and minor confidentiality. Dental visits are encouraged as part of safe and effective prenatal care.

This document was developed through a collaborative effort of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Councils on Clinical Affairs and Scientific Affairs to offer updated information and recommendations regarding oral health care for the pregnant pediatric dental patient.