Even if you’re lactating, you may need to see a dentist for wisdom tooth extraction in case it is causing you trouble. However, removal of the wisdom tooth during breastfeeding should be approached with caution. The reason behind it is that the drugs and medicines used during or after the extraction may get into your infant’s system through your breast milk.
Read on to learn about wisdom tooth extraction and dental care while breastfeeding.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third or rearmost molars. We have four wisdom teeth i.e. two each in lower and upper jaws. The teeth are commonly known as ‘Wisdom’ teeth since they erupt in growing ages from 16 to 21 years. When the wisdom teeth erupt in alignment with the remaining natural teeth, they help break and chew hard food. However, often, wisdom teeth erupt partially or impact the jaw bone. This increases chances of food or plaque accumulation, resulting in decay and pain and warranting the need to remove them.
Causes Of Wisdom Teeth Removal In Nursing Mothers
Hormone changes occur after delivery that affects gums surrounding the wisdom teeth and often result in inflammation and swollen and painful gums. Also, plaque accumulation around the wisdom teeth can infect them and make you suffer from acute tooth pain. So, it becomes necessary to remove the infected wisdom tooth while nursing your baby (1).
Symptoms That Warrant Wisdom Teeth Removal In Nursing Mothers
What signs stress the need for wisdom teeth removal while breastfeeding? Here are symptoms that make it inevitable to remove wisdom teeth.
- Chronic tooth pain
- Excessive tooth decay
- Cysts or fluid-filled sacs surrounding wisdom tooth
- Discoloration of teeth
- Pain and swelling of cheek
- Bad breath
- Repeated infection in the soft tissues near the wisdom tooth
- Damage to the surrounding teeth
- Gum disease (2)
Depending on the condition of your wisdom tooth and oral health, dentists decide when it is the right time to remove it.
Wisdom Teeth Removal While Nursing
Even though a majority of pharmaceutical medications and anesthetics do not affect breastfeeding, you may need to wait for about eight to 12 hours before a feed after you opt for treatment. You can also consult a qualified lactation consultant (IBCLC) regarding which drugs are appropriate and safe to have while breastfeeding.
Surgery is the most effective way of removing wisdom teeth while breastfeeding. Consult your surgeon or anesthetist regarding how soon the effect of anesthesia will subside after the teeth removal or surgery. Also, make sure you feed your newborn before you go for the surgery. Have some spare breastmilk in the refrigerator.
2. Pain relievers
You may need pain relieving medicines to get relief from the pain post surgery. Consult your dentist to have painkillers that will be safe to have while infant feeding. Most painkillers are safe to have while nursing but confirm the medication safety with your dentist. The dentist may prescribe Nurofen or Panadol to help in pain management. Make sure you breastfeed your baby before you take the painkiller.
3. Proper rest
After the dental surgery, you may feel weak and tired, and you may not be in a position to get up and feed your newborn. Take rest, and make sure you have people to bring your dear little one to you for the feeds.
4. Appropriate diet
For post-surgery dental care, it is recommended to eat nourishing, soft foods. Avoid having extremely hot foods and drinks. Initial few days after surgery, have liquids, such as soups, milkshakes, yogurt, and puddings. Avoid foods, such as nuts, popcorns, rice, sunflower seeds, and other foods, that accumulate in the dental sockets. To ensure proper postoperative care and avoid dental complications, consult your dentist to follow a safe and appropriate diet (3).
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long after wisdom teeth removal can I breastfeed?
There is no reason to interrupt breastfeeding after wisdom tooth extraction or removal. This procedure is done under local anesthesia or sedation for short periods. Although there is not enough evidence on the safety of dental treatments during nursing, most mothers undertake treatments along with breastfeeding without complications (4).
2. What can I take for tooth pain while breastfeeding?
You may take acetaminophen or ibuprofen in prescribed doses for tooth pain while breastfeeding. Ask the doctor to know the dosages and timing based on feeding schedules to have less impact on the breastfed baby (4).
3. Is dental anesthesia safe while breastfeeding?
General or local anesthesia for dental treatments during breastfeeding is considered safe. These anesthetics have a very short half-life, which means they act for a short time in the body. Nevertheless, you may express milk before treatment and seek assistance from someone to care for the baby until the anesthetic effect is over (4) (5).
4. Can I take antibiotics for tooth infections while breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding moms get prescriptions for lactation-safe antibiotics that won’t hurt the baby. You may take antibiotics as prescribed and continue to breastfeed as per schedule (6). Check for potential side effects in breastfed babies, such as loose stools, and report it to the doctor (4).
5. Should I pump and dump after dental work?
The available medical evidence suggests that nursing mothers can safely feed their babies without dumping the pumped milk after all kinds of dental treatment, such as fillings, root canals, dental whitening, and dental extraction. Moreover, drugs used as painkillers, some antibiotics, and anesthetic agents are not contraindicated for lactating mothers (4).
6. Are dental x-rays safe while breastfeeding?
No known research contraindicates using dental x-rays for lactating mothers. Therefore, if you are a nursing mother, you may safely go for x-rays (7).
7. Is IV sedation safe while breastfeeding?
While sedation is not contraindicated for nursing mothers, drugs used for sedation may make the breastfed baby sleep longer than usual. Therefore, having another adult care for your child may be advisable until you are completely alert (4).
Sometimes, the solution to the discomfort caused by a wisdom tooth is its extraction. If you wish to undergo wisdom teeth removal while breastfeeding, consult your dentist and your doctor to understand if it is the right option. Generally, teeth extraction while nursing is considered safe, provided you ensure ample time between infant feeding and medication intake. However, your health advisors can make the best decision based on the accompanying symptoms, your dental health and hygiene, and whether it will affect maternal health and food intake.
Infographic: Safety Measures For Wisdom Teeth Removal During Breastfeeding
Symptoms such as chronic toothache, fever, and tooth infection may require a tooth extraction. However, breastfeeding women must follow certain precautions to prevent any potential effects on the baby or breastfeeding. This infographic details some points to remember when undergoing a teeth removal procedure during lactation.
- Extraction of wisdom teeth is a common oral procedure to deal with tooth decay or pain.
- This procedure is usually safe for lactating women with short recovery time.
- It is advisable to consult a dentist and a lactation consultant before the procedure to ensure the safety of both the mother and the baby.
- However, feeding the baby before the procedure and storing breastmilk can help during and after the procedure.
- Appropriate diet (including liquids), rest, and medicines (for pain) aid in a speedy recovery.
- Impacted Tooth.
- Wisdom Teeth Removal.
- Tooth Extraction.
- Dental Treatment And Breastfeeding Mothers.
- M Giuliani, et al; 2001; Could local anesthesia while breast-feeding be harmful to infants?.
- Breastfeeding: 6 Things Nursing Moms Should Know About Dental Health.
- X rays and Breastfeeding