All About Toothaches, Abscesses, Infections, Extractions, Risks. Also, Seeing The Dentist While Pregnant. Is It Safe?
I wrote this yesterday. Almost 3 days post extraction..STILL in pain!
Not a happy mama!
Signs that you need to run not walk to see your dentist:
1) Any facial swelling due to a tooth in that area
2) Severe tooth pain
There’s always a cause, don’t prolong or ignore it.
4) A lump around the tooth itself
You may visualize this or 1st feel it with your tongue. It’s called an abscess. It needs to be drained.
5) A broken tooth
If your tooth breaks, it will break further in the future and be harder to either fix, or become impossible to fix and need to be extracted surgically. Despite dental costs see your doctor for a broken tooth.. pain or no pain. It will cause massive pain eventually.
6) Pain that radiates into other areas
In my case the whole bottom row of teeth to my lower front tooth, and even pain into my jaw to the ear and down into my neck, feeling like a very sore, swollen gland. Almost sore throat symptoms without having an actual cold.
7) Hard to open your mouth
8 ) Painful or even difficulty with swallowing
Run to your dentist PLEASE! Hopefully, you won’t let it get this far, but just in case. It is possible for swallowing to go from hard to impossible and become a life threatening situation. Don’t under-estimate this symptom.
It’s very easy when a tooth doesn’t hurt or stops hurting, to sit back and let time pass by. Most of us aren’t eager to hop into a dentist’s chair to begin with. Plus, the bill in the end can leave us walking around in a zombie-like state, as most insurance plans pay little, some nothing towards dental. Regardless, these things should NOT be neglected.
WHY on a blog such as this one am I talking about dental issues? Because 40 hours after extraction I am kicking my own hide mentally for not seeking help sooner for a tooth that became insanely painful, developed a large abscess, and a very severe infection.
I have required strong pain meds, and a double dose of antibiotic for this infection. The pain so bad it blew the pain of natural childbirth out of the water in a snap! Then I realized how important this was, but it shouldn’t have taken that long to realize it. That is why I am writing this. Plus, I’m adding a pregnancy segment.
Swollen up like a chipmunk, post-op
We don’t usually think about the effects that an infection can have on our bodies and our overall health. It can even KILL YOU, though people never think that could ever happen.
So while it’s easy to put it off, especially if the agony passes and you feel ‘ok’ again. Which I waited for with this tooth but was not happening. It was too far gone. Don’t be fooled. If you get to a tooth fast enough, you may be able to save the tooth which is expensive but a really GOOD thing. When it breaks, over time it will break more, and eventually will NOT be fixable.
The majority of the tooth was broken down to the gum line. It happened in two breaks. Had I went in earlier it might have been saved via root canal and crowning. The roots were greatly exposed causing immense pain. There was no more waiting, worrying about money, etc. I had to go!
There are issues to contend with if you do NOT get help for a painful tooth
1) Brain abscess
The infection, which is inevitable, can spread over time to other areas of the body. (Yes, even to the brain.) The brain can form an abscess. Who knew that? Scary!
2) A blood infection
3) Jaw bone damage
4) Facial disfigurement
as the abscess (infection) eats away at the facial bones. (GROSS!)
5) Spread of infection to soft tissue
(facial cellulitis, Ludwig’s angina)
6) Heart damage
7) Sinus problems
8 ) Coma
Most scary of all!
I bet you never even thought about a fraction of these things when you had a hurting tooth. (Nor did I, or I would have ran to the dentist much sooner.)
Tooth abscess symptoms if in doubt
(You need not have all of them)
2) Pain when chewing
3) Bad breath
4) Icky, bitter taste in the mouth
5) Sensitivity to both hot and cold
6) Swollen gland or glands in neck
7) Possible fever
(Low grade. I had one.)
8 ) Swelling of the upper or lower jaw
9) The appearance of a red (or even normal or white-colored) lump in the gum upon visualization.
Ok..but what about if you are pregnant? Can a pregnant woman still see the dentist? In a word..YES! And she should, especially if she notices any of the above problems or symptoms. A bad infection can spread and endanger the baby far more than a couple of x-rays while wearing a protective garment, and a shot of novacane ever could.
I had extractions done during two pregnancies. While I refused pain meds after both of them, which I could have taken, especially just Tylenol or something, but I was paranoid about everything. It was much better off for my babies and myself to not wait until after the pregnancy.
If the work is cosmetic or you are at the very end of your pregnancy and it’s nothing drastic, maybe you need a cavity filled, waiting is OK, but visit the dentist to confirm the problem is minimal and not harmful to your unborn child.
If you are in a lot of pain there is no reason to fear the dentist nowadays. Even during pregnancy. They know how to take care of a pregnant woman, and they will know best what can wait and what needs to be handled before your 9 months have passed.
Pregnancy causes the gums to swell and trap food which can irritate gums and lead to gum disease. If you have your annual exam and cleaning coming up, don’t postpone it. Go! Even painless at the time, oral infections such as gum disease can lead to pre-term birth possibly. This is why I had my tooth extractions, especially with twins in my belly, as I was already at risk for pre-term labor.
When is the best time for dental work during pregnancy?
After the 1st trimester if possible, but before the 3rd is optimal. The second trimester is usually when a woman is feeling most comfortable. Most of the time morning sickness has passed, but you aren’t feeling too large and uncomfortable yet, laying for long periods of time as you may be in the 3rd trimester. Any work that can be postponed until after pregnancy will be, only necessary work will be done at this time.
The most common drug used for numbing during dental work is called Lidocaine. It’s a category B drug which means there is no evidence of it causing any fetal harm. So while you may be scared, take heart that this drug has not been proven in any way to harm an unborn child.
I was forced to be on a category D drug which petrified me during one of my pregnancies, and everything was just fine. Your dentist will know what he or she is doing.
ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU TELL YOUR DENTIST THAT YOU ARE PREGNANT!
(Of course, that seems like a no-brainer but you never know.)
How to take care of yourself (teeth included) during pregnancy
1)Brush your teeth 2x’s a day
Gums get swollen during pregnancy, and the extra blood in your body can cause more bleeding than usual. Don’t over-brush…don’t under-brush.
2)Use an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste
3)Floss once daily
4)Don’t put off your dental exam while pregnant..GO!
5)Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
6)While at the dentist bring headphones so you can relax
7) Keep your legs and feet uncrossed so you get proper, healthy circulation while sitting in the dentist’s chair.
Funny, when I went in on Sunday for this horrendous tooth pain (of course it was on a Sunday), I was in so much pain they told me that I checked off the pregnant box on the forms quite clearly. I said, ”WHAT?’ NO..I am not pregnant .” Amazing what pain can do. I couldn’t even think straight.
I was too miserable to even post yesterday and stayed in bed most of the time. Definitely the most painful extraction EVER! That was my fault. The abscess and infection got out of hand. I didn’t know all of these things written above. I hope it will bring awareness to somebody else out there to help them avoid such horrible misery.
”Nothing compares to the pain I felt when the novacane wore off after my surgical extraction. NOTHING! And I have endured a lot in life. Please don’t let this happen to you!”- Mama P.