Mothers are naturally concerned for the welfare, protection, and health of their children. Women who are breastfeeding are often concerned that having dental work will affect their ability to breastfeed or that it will affect the quality and/or safety of their milk. At Pacific Sky Dental, we understand these concerns and want to help clarify guidelines for mothers who are breastfeeding full term, healthy babies.
Most medications used for oral and IV sedation are considered compatible with breastfeeding.
- Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) – this commonly used method of sedation is virtually insoluble in the blood stream. Because it is inhaled through the mouth and nose, it goes from your brain, to your lungs, and then to the air in the room. This sedation medication is rapidly eliminated from the body, and any ingestion of nitrous oxide that is taken orally is highly unlikely to cross into a mother’s milk.
- Local anesthesia – because a local anesthesia is administered in a small spot that is in direct location to an area that needs care, it is given in a small dosage. Such a small dosage of local anesthesia is very unlikely to have any impact on a mother’s milk supply. It is greatly diluted in a very short amount of time.
- General anesthesia – while general anesthesia does enter the blood stream, it is a carefully controlled substance. It is administered by a person’s weight in order to properly affect the body. Once surgery, or a procedure that requires general sedation is complete, the body is taken off the medication and recovers quickly. Generally, by the time a mother is alert enough to hold her baby, the amount of medication in her blood stream is low enough that it will not affect her baby.
- X-rays – while not a medication, women often worry about the exposure of radiation and their milk supply. When dental X-rays are taken, the radiation exposure is quite low because of the small area that is being looked at. Patients are also given a heavy lead apron that protects other areas of the body from absorbing any radiation. The breasts are fully protected under this apron.
At Pacific Sky Dental, we respect all our patients, including nursing mothers. If you have any concerns regarding dental care and breastfeeding, please speak with us. There is also an InfantRisk Center that provides a hotline for questions regarding medications taken or administered while pregnant or nursing. If you feel the need to call them before receiving dental care, the number is: (806) 352-2519. Dr. Jone and the staff at Pacific Sky Dental look forward to serving you.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Raymond Jone, Pacific Sky Dental