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Orthodontic Treatment: Is it Safe For New Moms?

We all want to rise to the occasion and be the best parents we can be. But when we’re making a big effort to be healthy for ourselves and our children, it can sometimes feel like there are dangers around every corner. Thankfully, you can cross orthodontic treatment off of your list of potential threats to you or your baby’s health. 

In this piece, we’ll explore the safety of orthodontic treatment and offer insight into when to take the leap and straighten your smile. 

Materials & Procedure

People are more aware than ever about what they put in their bodies, and orthodontic treatments are no exception. Fortunately, the materials used in orthodontic treatment are perfectly safe for anyone pregnant or breastfeeding. Clear aligners are made of medical grade, BPA-free plastic and braces treatments are made from ceramic or medical grade stainless steel. 

Most people know that radiation should be avoided when pregnant or breastfeeding. Thankfully, x-rays used in dental and orthodontic offices emit very low levels of radiation. In fact, the American Pregnancy Association and the American Dental Association say that the levels are too low to harm a pregnant woman or her child. 

If dental x-rays are still beyond your comfort level, there are radiation-free digital scanning options like the iTero scanner. This process consists of a wand-like tool that takes thousands of photos to construct a 3D digital image of your smile. 

If you aren’t sold on the digital scanner, some treatment options just take a mold of your bite with a putty. These impression kits pose no health threat—they’re just a little bit messy. 

Oral Hygiene & Orthodontia 

The safety of orthodontia during pregnancy has less to do with the orthodontic treatment itself, and more to do with oral health issues that present themselves during pregnancy and early parenthood.

As you’re probably aware, the exhaustion of pregnancy and parenthood change your daily routine in a big way. For many, one of the first things to go when they’re overwhelmed or exhausted is their oral hygiene. That doesn’t mean every sleepy person is throwing their toothbrush in the bin, but it does mean that your flossing ritual may become less frequent. 

Orthodontic treatments demand a high level of oral hygiene. Traditional metal braces require extra time to clean because the wires and elastics offer lots of hiding places for plaque and bacteria. You’ll also need to learn to floss around the braces archwire, which adds extra time to your daily routine. If you get lax with these habits, your oral health will decline. 

Not all orthodontic treatments require the same level of effort. Removable clear aligners, for example, eliminate these oral hygiene complications since you can take them out for meals and cleanings. So if you’re looking to straighten your smile, but you’re stretched thin from the demands of parenthood or pregnancy, clear aligners could be a good match for your needs. 

Potential Advantages

During pregnancy, teeth are prone to shift and feel slightly loose. The medical community theories this is due to the release of relaxin, a hormone your body deploys during pregnancy to loosen your ligaments. Relaxin doesn’t pick and choose the ligaments it loosens; so though it helps the birthing process, it also softens your tooth ligaments. 

In some cases, looser tooth ligaments can lead to shorter treatments. In fact, modern orthodontic treatments use devices to achieve this same result. High frequency vibration devices emit soft pulses to soften the tooth ligaments and help shift teeth more quickly. The fact that this process occurs naturally in many pregnancies may indicate this is an optimal time to pursue orthodontic treatment. 

An aligned smile has health benefits as well. If your teeth are crooked, food particles and bacteria have more places to hide away from your toothbrush or dental floss. With a straight smile, you can more easily maintain excellent tooth and gum health.


Thankfully, there is no evidence that suggests orthodontic treatment is unsafe for pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers. The main factor you need to keep an eye on is your personal bandwidth. If you think you’ll have the energy to add something new to your plate and maintain great oral hygiene, then there’s absolutely no reason why you should delay orthodontic treatment.