Pregnancy Outcome After in Utero Exposure to Local Anesthetics as Part of Dental Treatment

Author(s): Hagai King

Despite the emotion and drama surrounding drug induced birth defects, congenital defects are literally rare events. Approximately 3% to five of children born in the United States have developmental defects, ranging in severity from relatively benign (eg, depressed nasal bridge) to severe (eg, heart lesions or mental retardation). The estimated lifetime medical costs for a toddler with a birth defect can easily exceed $500,000. The combined lifetime cost of 18 common congenital defects is approximately $8 billion dollars annually due to maternal infection with viral agents like rubella, cytomegalovirus, or HIV. Little percentage of birth defects is caused by imbalances in maternal metabolism, like that related to diabetes. Between 2% and three of defects are classified as teratogen-induced malformations. These are considered to be the results of environmental or iatrogenic exposures during pregnancy.