When screening patients follow these steps:
- Evaluate oral health risk history.
- Perform an oral exam.
- Document findings in prenatal record and share with dentist.
- Proactively reassure dentists of the safety of dental treatment during pregnancy.
Standardize Office Screening for all Pregnant Women
- Do you have any oral health issues currently?
- If yes = > make urgent referral
- When was the last time you saw a dentist?
- If > 6 months => make routine referral
- If < 6 months = > advise to see dentist at 6 months
Encourage patients to maintain the following good oral hygiene habits and healthy dietary practices:
- Brush teeth with soft toothbrush twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste.
- Floss daily.
- Limit sugary snacks and drinks to meal times only.
- Chew xylitol gum four to five times per day after eating (xylitol must be listed as first ingredient to be effective).
- Establish a dental home for the family.
Discuss how to manage oral complications of vomiting:
- Rinse with water and baking soda after vomiting.
- Do not brush immediately after vomiting to minimize erosion.
Standardize Office Processes
Implement the following procedures:
- Modify prenatal chart to include dental screening, advice, and referral.
- Develop a role for office staff in taking risk history, offering advice, and providing referral information.
- Maintain an up-to-date list of local dental providers that see pregnant patients.
- Use a referral form to improve communication with dental providers.
- Follow up to ensure dental care has occurred.
- Include oral handouts in prenatal informational packets.