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My Toothache While Pregnant

Posted Feb 18 2010 3:00pm
Ouch! During Valentine's Day weekend, I came down with a toothache. It's been intermittent pain so I do have plenty of relief through the days, but for about 2-3 times a day, 1-2 hours each of those times, it hurts to bite down on the left side of my mouth. I was not excited about this because going to the dentist as a pregnant woman is right up there with going to an emergency room. They're just not places that I want to be.

When the pain first started, I figured I'd kind of ignore it as long as I could. It wasn't debilitating, just annoying and a little painful when I bite. However, in passing, I let my midwife know and she was actually concerned. She said it could mean infection, and that could be harmful for the baby. Sh*t. Well, since it was the weekend when it started, I couldn't see my dentist. So to help ease the pain, she taught me a little acupressure trick for pressing on a certain spot on my jaw. It worked to temporarily relieve the pain. :) I explained my concerns of going to the dentist while pregnant, and she relaxed my fears of potentially having to get an x-ray as she described to me the kind of equipment I'd want to make sure my dentist was using (digital) and to have him double up the cover-thing on me. Furthermore, according to a doctor I know, these x-rays (and being properly covered up), is less radiation than taking an airplane flight. As for my concern of having novacaine, I was told that there is a formulation for pregnant women that doesn't have epiniphrine in it. Frankly, that doesn't make me feel much better... I don't want any drugs if I can help it. Hhmmm... I wonder if I can Hypnobirth my way through any potential dental work - nervously lol.

When Monday rolled around, I dragged myself to the dentist to get more information. Turns out that I have already had a root canal in that tooth and his initial diagnosis was that it was an abscessed tooth. Double Sh*t! He needed an x-ray to verify it, but I was still leery about getting one. My research about x-rays also said that it's better to wait until later in the pregnancy for them if possible, third trimester being the safest. After a lengthy discussion he said that since the pain only just started a few days prior, and that because it wasn't hurting that much... I could wait a bit and see if it gets worse, or if in the small case that it's not an abscess, perhaps it'll go away on its own. (There was talk about whether I was grinding my teeth which could cause the pain. Very unlikely that I'm a teeth grinder though.)  The consensus was that if it was indeed abscessed, it could be dangerous based on the level of the infection, but that I could take some time to think about how I want to proceed and see if it gets better or worse over the following week or two.

So, I went home and started a few natural remedies. For the next few days I swished 3 times a day with warmed Himalayan crystal salt water in my mouth. 

Then, I swished with 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide (I buy the strong concentration - about 35% - and then dilute it in a 1:11 ratio of 1 part peroxide to 11 parts water). I did this about 3 times a day, too.

I also did two other things: took extra probiotics and extra wheat grass tablets.

Good news so far! On Tuesday I only had mild discomfort in the morning when waking, which went away after a couple of hours. On Wednesday the only teeny tiny amount of sensation I felt was for about 30 minutes after I woke up from my mid-day nap. And, today, I'm pain free still. Even though I'm sure I don't grind my teeth, I am consistently sleeping on my left side, which is recommended for pregnant women. I wonder if this is increasing the pressure on that side of my jaw which is where the tooth problem is.
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