Pregnancy and Dental Work
Dear Dr. Mady: I found out two weeks ago that I am pregnant. I am suffering from one of the worst toothaches that I have ever had and although I am now only eight weeks pregnant, my dentist does not want to work on me until after the baby is born. Why is this and can anything be done now! -
Dear Julia: Because you are pregnant, your dentist is faced with some important choices. It appears that he cares very much about the health of you and your baby. It is not out of the ordinary for a dentist to be very conservative with treatment for pregnant women, however if the pain is affecting your quality of every day life, something must be done right away.
I do recommend that elective dental work aside from regular exams and cleanings wait but if it cannot, as in your case, then your dentist should consult with your OB/GYN about the status of your pregnancy. This usually includes a note from your obstetrician giving an ok for the use of a dental x-ray, local anesthetic, antibiotics and analgesics (pain killers) and the type of each. In general they will give approval so long as there are no complications associated with your pregnancy and if it is past the first trimester. Most obstetricians feel that they do not really need to be consulted with but I feel it is very important to contact them prior to initiating any dental work.
Along with an approval from your OB/GYN, they usually will suggest the use of double lead shielding during x-rays as a precaution but I have found that they are most concerned with the use of medications. So, emergency treatment should be rendered since you are experiencing discomfort. Consultation between your obstetrician and dentist is highly recommended. The use of x-rays and local anesthetic should be very conservatively used especially in the first few months. If your dentist is very uncomfortable treating you under these conditions, ask for a referral to another dentist. If this is not possible check with your local dental society for someone in the area that may be willing to help. Julia, you are not expected to go through seven more months of agony with a bad tooth. You are going to have enough to deal with!
This column is reprinted with the permission of the author and The Windsor Star. "Ask the Dentist" is written by Windsor dentist (and ECDS member), Dr. David Mady Jr.. The column appears the first Thursday of each month in the Windsor Star. Readers with questions can write to "Ask The Dentist", c/o The Windsor Star, 167 Ferry St., Windsor Ontario, N9A 4M5