By Katie Melko, MSDH, RDH
I love having pregnant women in my chair for prophylaxes! It allows me to really hone in on proper home care for mother and child. Since most soon-to-be mothers are concerned about doing everything right, it is rare that they become upset when I review oral hygiene instructions.
By the time I finish explaining the importance of home care, they usually have many questions for me. This is a great opportunity to build rapport with patients and gain their trust. Let’s be honest; this interaction is something that often gets pushed aside because of the high demand placed on hygienists to produce and do more throughout the day.
It is usually through the medical history that I find out a woman is pregnant. I like to ask a few questions to feel out whether the patient is happy about the pregnancy before I congratulate her. Most of the time the woman is happy, but I do have patients who aren’t exactly thrilled with the situation, and I have to respect that too. I usually ask how far along they are, when they’re due, if it is a high-risk pregnancy, and how they’re feeling.
Based on their answers, I can usually detect if the pregnancy is good news or not, and then I can continue on with boy or girl questions, offer congratulations, and more. It is always good to have the information about the patient’s obstetrician on file in case the dentist needs to consult with him or her about the patient’s case.