My first encounter with a pregnant woman in need of pain relief was during my internship in Mulago National Referral Hospital.she had been trapped in a burning house and inhaled smoke,and for that reason was admitted in the intensive care unit(ICU) .On top of that a painful decayed tooth needed attention.

I was the intern on duty and had to respond to the ICU call.The only option was to remove her tooth.But alas!she was a few weeks away from delivery and this is usually dreaded because you do not want to induce labor by stressful procedures.I had a discussion with the ICU  doctor on call  and agreed with him that we would have to remove the tooth because benefits of removing it outweighed the risks of treatment.I picked up my instruments and came back and extracted that condemned tooth to the ladies’ relief.The doctor was happy too and there were no consequences.

Since then  i have  encountered many other expecting ladies and always go through all precautions to determine what could be risky and thereafter treat,or postpone treatment.

There are many contradictory messages out there from the gynecologists,the doctors and the dentists.Should a lady suffer with a toothache all through pregnancy? No. Is it risky to do dental treatment?Yes.But we have treatment guidelines on how to manage such without causing harm,so no one should suffer with toothaches because they are pregnant.Is it risky not to do the treatment?Yes ,even worse!

You can avoid all that drama if you take regular care of your teeth by doing scaling and polishing once or twice a year,then you should have a dental checkup immediately on learning that you are pregnant.You can have all potential issues managed then .Elective procedures can best be  handled in the second trimester and emergencies must be managed anytime to avoid complications.

Indulging on sweet sticky foods in pregnancy is a recipe for disaster  later on in the term.Some ladies also suffer long episodes of nausea and vomiting leading to acid attack on the teeth,further weakening the teeth, leading to cavities. And now it has been proved that certain mouth bacteria lead to gum disease that leads to premature births or still births.

The good thing is that all this is preventable 100 percent!You just have to be concerned and take good care of your teeth because the agony from a toothache in such a state is really horrible.Don’t join the long list of the suffering women due to toothaches,take action(not Panadol) Now.