Pregnant with a Horrible Toothache

I am twenty-two weeks pregnant. My OBGYN suggested that I go to see my dentist for a check up during my second trimester because healthy teeth and gums are important for a healthy baby during pregnancy. I’m not exactly a fan of dentists but did what my doc said in order to protect my baby. At the appointment, my dentist found a couple of cavities and filled them right there. That was a few weeks ago and I am now in excruciating pain. Nothing helps it except Tylenol, which I am trying to avoid because I am pregnant. Why am I having all this pain? I didn’t have any before the visit. Is there anything I can do about it while I am pregnant?


Dear Marla,

Pregnant woman at the dentist

Congratulations on your baby!! I can tell you are going to be a good mother because you are already doing things that scare you for the sake of your baby.

It is not uncommon for a tooth to ache after getting filled. However, you are describing significantly more pain than I would have expected. There are a couple of possibilities that spring to mind.

First, it could be that your filling is sitting too high. If that is the case, your dentist can adjust it in order to make it more comfortable.

A second possibility is the depth of the cavity. I don’t know if your dentist mentioned that you had a deep cavity. If that is the case, then it would be close to a nerve. She may have put a buffer there in the hope that you would not need a root canal treatment.

My suggestion is you get a follow up visit including an x-ray to get this looked at. If you are worried about the x-ray, be assured that most dentists use digital x-rays these days. This gives you no more radiation than you are exposed to just going outside. Even with the low radiation, they will provide you with a special lead lined robe as an additional precaution.

Your dentist is correct that healthy teeth and gums are important for your baby. Gum disease has been linked to low birth weight in children, which puts them at a greater risk of illness. Infections can be passed on to the baby as well, so treatment is recommended.

You’re at the perfect stage of your pregnancy for any dental work needed and your dentist should be well-versed in what is safe for the baby. You don’t want to put this off and have it blow up into a dental emergency. If you are concerned, you can get some extra advice from your OBGYN about medications.

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