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Dental anaesthesia and breastfeeding

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A mother is scheduled to have a couple of fillings and is concerned about the effects of the anaesthetic on her child - as she is still breastfeeding

A mother is scheduled to have a couple of fillings and is concerned about the effects of the anaesthetic on her child - as she is still breastfeeding. "I know the anaesthetic leaves the body via breast milk and is not designed to be ingested," she says. She has had a filling without anaesthetic before but she thinks the holes in her teeth are too deep to be able to cope without it this time. Do readers know of any natural ways to minimise the effect of the drugs on her child, she asks?

A couple of readers suggest visiting The Breastfeeding Network's (BFN) website, www.breastfeedingnetwork.org, which provides some useful information on dental treatment and breastfeeding. They comment that for local anaesthetic, which works by deadening sensation of the nerve endings around the tooth, there is no evidence of passage into breastmilk, and therefore no reason not to continue breastfeeding. However, the addition of adrenaline to the anaesthetic to reduce bleeding may possibly make a sensitive baby jumpy and irritable so it may be worth asking the dentist to limit use if possible, say the BFN. Indeed, Shirley always asks for local anaesthetic without adrenaline, and suggests you do the same.

If you are still concerned, however, a dentist recommends having temporary treatment that does not require anaesthetic. "Most cavities and even exposed nerves can be dealt with temporarily without the need for anaesthesia," he says. This provides a short-term solution so, if you plan to stop breastfeeding fairly soon, you can return to your dentist to complete the work at a later date. Nevertheless, this may not be possible in some cases, he admits.
In which case, Mel has a possible solution: "Why not express some milk for the days/weeks before the fillings and then you can have the anaesthetic and the baby will still have anaesthetic-free milk to drink."

Another idea is to take the homeopathic remedy Silica (6c) three times a day following the dental work, which, says one reader, will help the body get rid of any trace of anaesthetic. However, Silica is not to be taken if there are any foreign bodies/implants present in the body, she warns.

E-news broadcast 17 April 2007 No.351


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