Pregnant With Pain
Thursday February 4, 1999
Dear Dr. Mady: I found out two weeks ago that I am pregnant. I am suffering from one of the worst toothaches 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. -Julia
Dear Julia: It is not out of the ordinary for a dentist to be very conservative with treatment for pregnant women, but if this pain is affecting your quality of life, something must be done right away.
I recommend that elective dental work, aside from regular exams and cleanings wait. But if it cannot, as in your case, 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.
Generally, approval is given so long as there are no complications associated with your pregnancy and if it is past the first trimester. Of course, x-rays and local anesthetic should be very conservatively used. Most obstetricians feel 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.
Dentists also suggest the use of double-lead shielding during x-rays as a precaution, and are most concerned with the use of medications.
Emergency treatment should be rendered since you are experiencing discomfort. Consultation between your obstetrician and dentist is highly recommended. 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 willing to help.
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