Pregnancy is a tricky phase as the hormonal changes can affect your body in several ways. Women have to be very particular about their oral hygiene as the pregnancy hormones can affect your oral health causing cavities and tooth decay. A serious cavity or abscess can not only give you discomfort but also risk the health and life of your unborn baby. Nonessential dental work is best avoided during pregnancy but it is important to treat a dental infection right away. Here are some steps to go about it.
Tips for Dealing with Tooth Infection During Pregnancy
Call Your Dentist
If you suspect a dental problem, are experiencing pain or suffering from swollen and bleeding gums, see a dentist right away. Get an appointment at the earliest possible date and make sure you tell the doctor about your pregnant condition so that he/she can take the necessary remedial action.
Make Yourself Comfortable
Dental treatment can be uncomfortable especially if you are in an advanced stage of pregnancy. Make yourself comfortable by choosing a good position in the dentist’s chair and also by bringing extra pillows if the need arises.
Ask for Extra Anaesthetic
Your body during pregnancy is extra receptive to pain, which means that you will be experiencing a lot more pain than the average adult will. This is because of the fluctuating hormones in the body. Do not hesitate to tell your doctor that you need more anaesthetic in case you are getting a root canalling done. Root canalling procedures can be very painful if not done properly. Make sure that your doctor is using anaesthetics that are safe to use during pregnancy.
Take all Antibiotics Diligently
If you have a minor tooth infection, it may go away with some routine prescription of antibiotics.
Make sure that you tell your doctor that you are pregnant so that he/she can give you antibiotics that are safe to take during your pregnancy. Have the full course without leaving it in between.
Ask for Pain Relief
Just because you cannot take medications during pregnancy, it does not mean that you have to suffer in silence or in agony. Make sure that you ask your doctor for some suitable pain relief to take if you are suffering from a tooth infection. The doctor will give you medication that is safe to take during pregnancy. You can stop taking the pills once you start to feel better.
Maintain Good Dental Hygiene
Be even more disciplined and diligent with your dental hygiene once your pregnancy has been confirmed. Otherwise, your dental hygiene is likely to go for a toss. Once the pregnancy has been confirmed, floss and brush your teeth 2-3 times a day. Use a good mouthwash, which will protect your teeth against dental decay. Clean your tongue after brushing. This will ward off cavities and tooth infections.
Get Cavity Fillings Refilled
If you have had earlier cavities, now is the time to check them and have them refilled. At times, you do not come to know if the filing is intact or not. This can cause an infection in the exposed tooth. If you have cavities, go regularly to the dentist and have them checked out for refilling. If a filling has become old or is about to chip off, you will need a new filling.
Very rarely a tooth is beyond repair especially if the infection has spread to the gums and the tooth is completely rotted. In such cases, a tooth extraction can come as a saving grace.
This however should only be done as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted. An extracted tooth will give you immediate relief, subside the infection and enable you to have a smooth pregnancy and delivery.
The Second Trimester is the Best Time
If you do not have any urgent or pressing dental work, make sure your teeth are examined in the second trimester, as it will be easier for you to lie down in the dentist’s chair. The third trimester on the other hand will make it difficult for you to lie down for extended periods without hurting your back.
At times, the use of an x-ray is necessitated during a dental infection to check for the spread and extent of the infection. Carrying out x-rays during pregnancy could be harmful for the baby as it exposes the baby to unnecessary radiation. However, the problem can be remedied by using an abdominal shield, which ensures that none of the rays reach the baby.
Maintain Circulation while Sitting in the Chair
If you have been strapped up in the dentist’s chair for a very long time, make sure you uncross your legs and sit. This helps in proper blood circulation. In between procedures, you can ask your dentist if it is ok to stretch and move about. This will make you feel a lot more comfortable.
Have Preventive Exams
Always schedule a preventive dental exam in the early days of your pregnancy. This will help to rule out the possibility of a future dental infection if and when it occurs.
In case of Fever
At times, a tooth abscess or infection can suddenly give rise to very high fever. In such cases, it is important to see a doctor right away. Even if you do not have access to a dentist, see your practitioner who will prescribe some antibiotics to arrest the infection and keep the fever down.
Eat a Balanced Diet
To prevent tooth infections and cavities during pregnancy it is important to eat a balanced diet, which will help to maintain good oral and dental hygiene. Make sure you brush and floss after consuming sugary foods. Normally the dental procedures with a tooth infection are carried out in a safe manner especially for a pregnant woman.
There is of course a limit on the kind of antibiotics used, the use of x-rays and the amount of local anaesthetic administered. Overall, it is a relatively safe procedure and women need not be unduly concerned or worried.
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