Reviewed by Dr. Gary Morris, DDS

Pregnancy is a special time for women and their families. During this stage, expectant mothers often have questions about what they can or cannot do. One common concern is whether it’s safe to get a root canal while pregnant. Root canal treatment involves removing infected pulp inside the tooth, which may require x-rays and anesthesia.

At Morris Dental Solutions, we understand the importance of maintaining oral health during pregnancy. Our team is here to provide guidance and address any concerns you may have about dental treatments while pregnant.

In this blog post, we will discuss the safety of getting root canal treatment during pregnancy. We’ll also share tips on how to maintain good oral health during this special time.

Is a Root Canal Safe in Pregnancy?

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), routine dental care can and should be performed during pregnancy, including regular cleanings, fillings, and even necessary extractions or root canals

Poor oral health has been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth and low birth weight, making it crucial for pregnant women to maintain good oral health.

Root canal therapy is generally considered safe for pregnant patients. The procedure involves cleaning the infected pulp from inside a tooth, cleaning the area, and sealing it back up. 

While the process may sound intimidating, the risks to you and your baby are minimal when compared to leaving an infection untreated.

If you think you might need a root canal but are unsure, read our blog “Dental Quiz: Do I Need a Root Canal?

Key Takeaway

A root canal during pregnancy can be conducted safely with minimal risks to you and your baby. Addressing dental issues is essential for maintaining overall health. With a knowledgeable and experienced dental team, you can ensure the health of your teeth while keeping your baby safe.

The Risks of Waiting to Get a Root Canal

Unfortunately, dental pain and discomfort don’t take a break just because you’re pregnant. During pregnancy, fluctuating hormones may increase your risk of developing gum disease, and existing dental problems can escalate due to changes in your immune system. An untreated infection can lead to serious health issues, including:

  • Infection spread: The longer you delay treatment, the greater the risk of the infection spreading to other teeth or the bloodstream.
  • Compromised immune system: Pregnancy can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to the spread of dental infections.
  • Difficulty eating and drinking: A tooth needing a root canal can make it challenging to maintain a proper diet, which is crucial for your and your baby’s health.

Scheduling a Root Canal While Pregnant

If you require a root canal during pregnancy, the timing is important. Here’s when and why it’s best to schedule the procedure:

  • First trimester: The first trimester, when your baby’s organs are forming, is the most critical stage of pregnancy. During this time, it’s best to avoid any unnecessary medical procedures, including elective dental treatments.
  • Second trimester: This is the safest and most comfortable time to get a root canal. Your baby is less susceptible to any potential side effects, and you will likely be more comfortable lying in the dental chair for an extended period.
  • Third trimester: While getting a root canal during the third trimester is generally safe, it may pose challenges due to the size of your abdomen. Managing your comfort may require some adjustments in posture and positioning during the procedure.

Your dental professional will take extra care during the procedure for your comfort and your baby’s safety.

The Risks of Having a Root Canal During Pregnancy

While a root canal can be safe for pregnant patients, there are a few aspects to consider regarding potential risks.

Dental X-rays

X-rays are an essential part of the root canal process as they help your dentist visualize the infection and determine the extent of the damage.

Pregnant patients should inform their dental care providers about their pregnancy so they can implement necessary measures for their baby’s safety. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states dental X-rays are safe during pregnancy as they emit low radiation levels.

Dental professionals take extra precautions, such as carefully positioning the patient, using a lead apron to shield the abdomen, and focusing the X-ray beam only on the necessary area.


During a root canal procedure, local anesthesia is typically used to numb the tooth and surrounding area. The type and amount of anesthesia used are carefully selected, monitored, and adjusted as needed.

According to the American Dental Association, local anesthesia, necessary for a root canal procedure, is considered safe during pregnancy. The ADA recommends local anesthetics with epinephrine, such as Bupivacaine, Lidocaine, and Mepivacaine.


Some medications may be necessary before, during, and after a root canal procedure to manage pain and prevent infection. Antibiotics and pain relievers are generally considered safe for pregnant patients when prescribed by a dentist or physician.

Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to prevent or treat an active infection. They will follow current standards to choose the appropriate antibiotics and dosages. For example, amoxicillin is usually safe to use during pregnancy. However, it is essential to follow the prescription instructions carefully and communicate with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

Avoid ibuprofen and Advil for pain management after a procedure, as these can harm your baby during pregnancy. Instead, use acetaminophen-based medications like Tylenol under the guidance of your dental professional. Ask about the correct dosage and type of medication based on your stage of pregnancy and individual health considerations.

Tips for Maintaining Good Oral Health During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can affect oral health, so it’s important to stay alert and treat dental issues promptly. Follow these tips to maintain good oral health during pregnancy:

  • Regular dental checkups: Continue regular dental visits for cleanings and checkups while pregnant. Inform your dentist about your pregnancy and any changes in your health.
  • Brush twice daily: Regular brushing with hydroxyapatite or fluoride toothpaste eliminates plaque, bacteria, and debris from your teeth.
  • Floss daily: Flossing helps remove food particles and bacteria between your teeth to fight against gum disease.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Proper nutrition is crucial for you and your baby’s health. Make sure to include calcium-rich foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt.
  • Limit sugary foods: Sugary snacks can increase the risk of tooth decay, so try to limit your intake during pregnancy.

Morris Dental Solutions: Your Buffalo Grove Dentist

Pregnancy is an exciting time but can also come with challenges. If you need a root canal during this period, there’s no need to worry. Communicate openly with your dentist and follow their recommendations for the safety of both you and your baby. 

At Morris Dental Solutions, your well-being is our top priority. Our dental office is located in the heart of Buffalo Grove. It is home to an experienced team dedicated to making your root canal process as comfortable and stress-free as possible. We take pride in providing exceptional dental care and use cutting-edge technology to guarantee that you get the best results.

Whether you’re looking for root canal therapy in Buffalo Grove, IL, or a root canal near me, we’re here to help. Call (847) 215-1511 or complete the online booking form. We’re also happy to serve the communities of Barrington, Arlington Heights, Long Grove, and Highland Park.

Frequently Asked Questions

What dental procedures should be avoided during pregnancy?

If you are pregnant, avoid non-emergency procedures during the first trimester and postpone cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening until after delivery.

Can an infected tooth harm my unborn baby?

Untreated infections in your mouth, including an infected tooth, can affect your baby’s health. Communicate with your dentist about any dental concerns and seek prompt treatment.

Can I get a root canal at 5 weeks pregnant?

It is generally safe to undergo a root canal procedure at any stage of pregnancy. However, it is recommended that non-emergency procedures be postponed during the first trimester. Always communicate with your dentist and healthcare provider for individualized guidance and treatment planning. 

If you are searching for “root canal treatment near me,” contact Morris Dental Solutions.

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