Practicing Dentistry While Pregnant

Guidelines for Practice Success | Managing Pregnancy | Business Operations

Pregnancy takes a different shape for everyone and everybody. While each person experiences pregnancy differently, these tips and suggestions are intended to make it easier for you to take care of yourself and your baby while simultaneously caring for your patients, your staff, and your practice.

  • Consult your physician if you have questions or if "something just doesn’t seem right."
    • You know your body best.
    • There’s no such thing as an inconsequential question; it’s a good idea to write your questions down so you and your doctor can discuss all of them.
  • Share a copy of your job description with your physician.
    • If you can, include a checklist that details the physical aspects involved in treating patients: sitting, reaching, leaning, holding small instruments and tools, etc.
      • The impact of these demands may change as your pregnancy progresses.
  • Follow your physician’s advice and recommendations.
    • If you have concerns about his/her suggestions, or if you’re having difficulty following them, let your doctor know. Full disclosure is important for your health and safety and that of your baby.
  • Take good care of yourself; after all, that’s one of the best things you can do for your baby. Follow your physician’s recommendations on:
    • Eating a nutritious diet.
    • Getting the prescribed amount of exercise/physical activity.
    • Getting enough rest.
      • You may find yourself more tired more often than you expected.
      • Consider placing a sofa or chaise lounge in your private office or a discreet area of the practice so you can schedule a few rest breaks during the day.
    • Taking care of your own oral health.
      • While much of your time is spent managing the clinical and business aspect of the practice and taking care of those around you, some changes in the mouth, such as pregnancy gingivitis, benign oral gingival lesions, tooth mobility, tooth erosion, dental caries, and periodontitis, can occur during pregnancy and may affect both your health and that of your baby. 
  • Pay attention to proper ergonomics, stretch throughout the day, and participate fully in any physical or occupational therapy that may be prescribed. Additional information is available in the article on "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Ergonomic Issues and Physical Therapy" available in this module.
  • Maintain good mental and emotional health.
    • Be alert to any thoughts, behaviors or feelings that might indicate depression. Commonly reported symptoms include worrying more than usual or experiencing unusual sadness or anxiety.
    • Know that depression can begin at any time during pregnancy, not just post-partum.
    • Seek help and recognize that there’s strength – not shame – in asking for support.
      • Your obstetrician/gynecologist may be able to refer you to someone familiar with the pressures, worries and concerns common among expectant mothers.
      • Talking with someone early on may give you the chance to learn coping strategies that can help throughout your pregnancy.
    • Refer to the article on "Postpartum Blues vs. Postpartum Depression" from the ADA’s Guidelines for Practice Success™ (GPS™) Module on Managing Pregnancy for more information.