I’m pregnant and have a toothache – what now?
It is very important to inform your dentist if you are pregnant and if you have any medical
conditions or are using medication. Talk to your dentist if you have any questions or doubts. The more informed you are, the more at ease you will feel. It is very important for a mother to be calm and comfortable during dental treatment, as it will benefit the baby. A checkup and cleaning are advised during pregnancy. If possible, plan ahead and visit a dentist before falling pregnant!
Due to hormonal changes, some moms’ gums may swell, leading to bleeding, food-trapping, bad breath and caries – therefore good oral hygiene is essential during pregnancy. If you notice any swelling or bleeding, go to the dentist and have your teeth scaled and polished to prevent complications.
A herbal option is to drink thyme tea, made by soaking a teaspoon of dried thyme in a cup of just-boiled water for a few minutes. Strain before drinking. It contains thymol, a powerful antiseptic that promotes healing and is safe for ingestion during pregnancy. If dental work is required, it is ideal and safe to do it in the second trimester, after the baby’s development in the first trimester. During the third trimester, mothers are usually too uncomfortable in the dental chair. Even fillings, root canals and extractions can be done safely during the second trimester if needed.
Remember that an untreated infection is placing you and the baby at much greater risk
then seeing the dentist! If you are in severe pain, from, for example, an abscess or broken tooth, don’t postpone seeing a dentist, regardless of the trimester – he or she will take proper precautions to protect you and your baby. Treatments that are not urgent should be postponed until after birth, such as whitening and aesthetic work.
Dental treatment is safe during breastfeeding. There have been cases where the adrenalin from the local anaesthetic has made the child a bit jumpy or irritable. A few cases have been reported of children rejecting milk after dental treatment – however, this is unusual and there is no scientific explanation.
You can always extract milk to use for 24hrs after dental treatment, but remember that your child will have to take it from the bottle!
“Talk to your dentist if you have any questions or doubts”
“It is very important to inform your dentist if you are pregnant, and if you have any medical
conditions or are using medication.”
Are dental injections and x-rays safe?
Novocain/lidocain, the active ingredients in dental injections, do cross the placenta barrier, but have been proven to be safe for the baby. The dentist will try to use as little of the injection as possible, but don’t be in pain – the stress of feeling extreme pain is more dangerous to the baby than a little more of the injection. The more relaxed you are, the better the anaesthetic will work and the better for the baby. Therefore, if needed, dental injections are safe during pregnancy (ideally during the second trimester).
No single digital x-ray has significant dosage to cause adverse effects on the baby; however, dentist will refrain from taking routine x-rays. They will only be used in emergencies, for example a root canal treatment. Avoid amalgam (mercury) fillings and rather ask for composite (white) fillings.
May I take antibiotics?
Penicillin, clindamycin and erythromcin (if you are allergic to penicillin) are all safe to use during pregnancy in the correct dosage, as prescribed by doctor. The dentist will prescribe them in the case of an infection, to stop it from spreading or getting worse. Paracetamol (Panado) is safe to use for pain in the correct dosage.