Developing a toothache in pregnancy is considered as a common problem that can’t always be avoided, such as back and abdominal pain. Teeth become more sensitive for pregnant women, causing them a lot of pain and suffering.
The woman’s body changes during the 9 months of pregnancy and her dietary habits also change: hormonal alterations and increased blood flow can cause, directly or indirectly, oral infections that can trigger a toothache.
Pregnant women’s teeth and gums are exposed to increased bacterial loads, lack of nutrients, and increased sensitivity to inflammatory development processes in the oral cavity.
Moreover, if teeth are already sick before the beginning of pregnancy, the risk of dental problems such as cavities, gum disease, teeth fractures or other is higher, which can lead to more serious infections that can reach teeth roots.
Toothache in pregnancy is particularly unpleasant because it is not easy to manage. Being pregnant imposes restrictions on many types of treatment for various conditions, including those affecting teeth.
Fortunately, by adopting good practices, you can prevent these concerns. And if any pain ever appears, good news, visiting a dentist when you are pregnant is absolutely possible!
It is better to make an overall check-up when you plan to have a child or to arrange a visit just at the beginning of pregnancy, that would be ideal!
What types of toothaches can you experience?
Toothache can appear suddenly and last for hours or days, affecting teeth, gums, jaws, and even triggering headaches and earaches when the pain is very intense.
Very frequent in pregnant women, worsened by the presence of bacterial plaque, food particles that are blocked between the teeth, and aggravated by increased levels of estrogens and progesterone. This gum inflammation can lead to bleeding without any severity.
Epulis is the most common benign lesion in the oral cavity. A small swelling on the gum edge that bleeds easily and disappears spontaneously after pregnancy. Its exact origin remains unknown, although poor hygiene and hormonal changes are likely to be involved in its development.
The famous cavity :
Cavities in pregnant women are not only due to poor dental hygiene, but also to hormonal factors. When the softened part gets too close to the nerve, the tooth will first become sensitive to heat and cold. Then the pain will occur from time to time until it becomes almost permanent.
Wisdom tooth :
Wisdom teeth growth can sometimes be very painful, especially those that aren’t well-positioned or don’t have the space to grow properly. The wisdom tooth provokes gum inflammation and is usually accompanied by headaches and earaches.
What causes Toothache in pregnancy?
Most forms of toothache in pregnancy are generally triggered by inflammation or infection of the gums. But pain can also be related to other causes such as a broken tooth or a growing wisdom tooth.
Hormones and diet changes
Physiological changes in pregnant women are mainly due to major hormonal activity in the placenta, that increases during pregnancy by up to 10 times compared to the normal level.
Some hormones associated with pregnancy, such as progesterone, have immunodeficiency properties. They can affect the way your body reacts to bacteria, which can lead to periodontal infection along with tooth and gum pain.
Increased blood flow
Your whole organism performs a lot of work to support you and your baby, which leads to more blood flow into your body.
This increased blood flow can induce sensitive and swollen gums that are susceptible to contact. Hot and cold foods can trigger this sensitivity, even if you have never had it before.
Nausea and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy lead women to change their dietary habits, they reduce quantities and switch to five small meals a day instead of three, and are more likely to eat sugary foods.
As a result, splitting meals promotes bacteria development and make your teeth more susceptible to cavities, since it is difficult to brush your teeth after each cake!
In addition, along with vomiting comes additional acid from your stomach that can cause enamel erosion. Also, when pregnant, saliva composition becomes more acidic, again because of hormones, which can worsen dental problems.
Toothache in pregnant women is also due to calcium deficiency, and that’s usually the main cause. High levels of calcium are necessary for the fetus, as it actively promotes bone development.
If a pregnant woman consumes little food containing calcium or if it is badly absorbed by the body, her bone system begins to suffer, which mainly affects her teeth.
Toothache treatment in pregnancy
If a toothache doesn’t stop, you should see a dentist because it may be necessary to use medication to treat an infection, do some cleaning, extract a tooth, and sometimes urgent treatment may be required.
Of course! Twenty or thirty years ago, dentists didn’t want to treat pregnant women’s teeth, but today, techniques and molecules have progressed, there is no reason for not getting treatment!
Many questions may arise when a dentist has a pregnant woman in his or her clinic:
Can we do everything? And at any time?
It depends on your pregnancy stage and the kind of intervention you will need to have.
During the first trimester of pregnancy, the risk of miscarriage is higher. It is better to do only emergency procedures: treat a cavity, an infection,… In short, act only to reduce stress, pain, and control potential infectious risks.
Between the 3rd and 6th month, there are many things you can do, including treatment to control infectious or painful pathologies that are progressing or likely to progress. Then you need to do an assessment to see if it is better to wait until after delivery for more complex interventions.
At the end of pregnancy, as in the beginning, only emergency treatments that provide relief are performed. Women feel discomfort due to weight gain, their movements are limited, and the risk of childbirth increases as the term approaches.
The second trimester is therefore considered the safest and most recommended time to receive dental treatment.
Can we do an X-ray?
Dentists usually try to avoid X-rays unless it is necessary. When radiographs are required to treat a toothache condition, the dentist will use a lead apron and thyroid collar to protect both you and your baby from the harmful effects of x-rays radiation.
Can dental anesthesia harm the unborn baby?
In any case, all clinical tests performed so far have shown that no secondary effects on fetal development have been observed. Moreover, molecules are more and more targeted, anesthesia is local and more precise.
Is it safe to go for a tooth extraction?
Extracting a problematic tooth is always a safe option, especially in the case of cavities. Because sometimes, decay can spread over the adjacent tooth due to angulation.
In addition, there is a good chance that food particles will clog between gum and tooth. But the situation is so different because your baby’s health is much more important right now.
Doctors recommend waiting until the 3rd month to start because 3 to 6 months is the safest time to have a dental procedure. If an x-ray is taken, make sure you are protected by a lead apron during exposure.
If there is no emergency, then it is a good idea to wait until you have delivered. But make sure you maintain excellent oral hygiene to prevent food from becoming clogged, as mentioned above.
What medications should be prescribed?
Tooth care or emergency treatment can be completed with prescribed medication in case of infection. However, some antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, or analgesics should be avoided, and can even lead to unwanted birth defects.
Remember that only a specialist can properly evaluate the situation and decide what is right for each particular case.
For pregnant women, pain is the main reason for consulting a doctor. To remedy this, Paracetamol remains the molecule of choice considered the safest during pregnancy.
They should also be used with special care (after consulting a doctor), Although paracetamol is not a powerful analgesic, it nevertheless helps very well, even if your teeth are very painful.
In any case, pregnancy should not delay the treatment of oral cavity disorders. Stress caused by pain and infection is much more harmful than a dentist’s intervention.
Some Tips To Reduce toothache in pregnancy
If you suffer from pain, bleeding or infected gums, some alternative remedies will help to ease your toothache. But keep in mind that a good dentist can identify the cause of your toothache and suggest effective ways with modern medical products.
A great natural option to get rid of a toothache while pregnant: add one teaspoon of salt to a cup of lukewarm water and flush your oral cavity for about 30 seconds with this solution.
Flushing with salt water can help to remove bacteria from your mouth and eliminate gum and tooth infections. Repeat this process regularly (every hour) to stop bacterial growth.
Cold compresses can reduce gum swelling and temporarily relieve toothache until you see your dentist and get the appropriate treatment. Applying an ice pack or cold cloth to the affected side of your tooth will numb nerves that cause toothache.
Make sure that ice itself doesn’t come into contact with your gums, as this may cause excessive cold, causing discomfort or pain.
Chamomile is well known for its calming and relaxing properties, it is indicated for gum inflammation and all the symptoms associated with wisdom tooth growth.
Prepare a chamomile infusion and use it as a mouthwash. This is often enough to ease the pain.
Hygiene & Good Habits
Sometimes, proper and regular brushing along with the use of inter-dental brushes or dental floss can simply remove food debris from a congested area and relieve pain.
Use a soft toothbrush and avoid toothpicks if you think some of the foods are blocked. Interdental brushes are available in different sizes and are designed to remove stuck food.
If you have gingivitis, you will be afraid to brush your teeth by fear of pain. But actually, you have to persist to avoid cavities!
In the case of acid reflux or nausea, do not brush your teeth right after because acidity will rise. Rinse your mouth with water and wait at least 15 minutes until the saliva becomes less acidic to brush your teeth.
Include more products with calcium in your diet and take note of foods that trigger sensitivity to avoid them. Gum sensitivity disappears after pregnancy, allowing you to eat hot and cold foods in the near future.
Sugar nourishes bacteria in your mouth, which can lead to cavities and pain. Reduce consumption of sweets as much as possible, and if you have to enjoy them, brush your teeth right after to remove fresh debris from your mouth.