If you are pregnant and need a root canal due to trauma, infection, or decay, you may be concerned about the length of the procedure and the effects of medications on you and your baby. However, it is important for you to take care of your overall health, including your dental health, while you are pregnant. Below are some tips to make the experience of a root canal more comfortable and less stressful if you are pregnant.
Don't Delay Treatment Because You Are Pregnant
While most dentists will recommend delaying cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening or smile adjustments while you are pregnant, you should still continue routine care and emergency care as necessary. Often, when you need a root canal, you will either be experiencing oral pain around the tooth or you will have an infection in the tooth. Both of these can cause stress to your baby and possibly negatively effect your pregnancy, so it is important to schedule your root canal for as soon as possible.
You may be relieved to know that dental x-rays and anesthetic, as needed, have been found to not be harmful to unborn children.
Discuss Your Treatment In Detail With Your Dentist Before You Start
It is fairly common for dentists to briefly explain the root canal procedure and then start work immediately, to reduce the amount of time you are in the office. However, if you are pregnant, you should ask for a more in-depth explanation of the procedure, including whether your dentist will be using a rubber dam, which may set off morning sickness, how long you will be expected to lay there, and what sensations you can expect to feel. A more thorough understanding of the procedure will help both you and your dentist anticipate and mitigate aspects of the procedure that may make you uncomfortable.
Bring a Pillow to Prop Yourself Up
If you are at the end of your second trimester or in your third trimester, you may find that you get nauseated or light headed when you lay on your back for an extended period of time. This is because your uterus may be resting on your major arteries in your back. To avoid discomfort and be able to stay in one position for an extended period of time, bring a pillow to prop yourself up. When you are laying in the chair, consider turning halfway or all the way towards your dentist, depending on where in your mouth they are working.
Tell Your Dentist If You Need a Break
As a pregnant woman, you may need breaks more often than non-pregnant patients. You may experience leg cramps or numbness from laying in one position for too long. You should work out a signal to let your dentist know you need a break before they begin the procedure. This can be as simple as raising your hand. While taking a break, you should get up out of the chair and walk around the room to help restore circulation and prevent discomfort.
Get a List of Approved Pain Relievers From Your OB
It is common for the site of a root canal to be sore or sensitive for several days after the procedure, especially if there was an infection in the tooth. You may want to get a list of pain relievers from your OB that they recommend as safe before going to your dentist. Keep in mind that your dentist may suggest anti-inflammatory pain relievers to reduce swelling, while your OB may prefer that you avoid anti-inflammatory medication. It is important to open a discussion with both of your health care providers about the best pain management for you.
For more information, contact a dentist like Samuel D Knight, DDS.