Drug distribution in human milk – Dental implications

Prepared by Dr R.G. Woods of the Australian Dental Association

Aust Prescr 1997;20:51

Practical, clinical issues concerning drugs in human milk arise frequently in dentistry because mothers present for elective treatment which has been postponed during pregnancy. Treatment provided for nursing mothers may be third molar surgery, periodontal treatment, prophylaxis, endodontic care or dental restorative procedures. Nursing mothers are generally concerned about any possible effect dental treatment, including drugs, may have on their milk or on the nursing infant.

Where single doses of drugs are used, e.g. local anaesthetics or parenterally administered sedatives, the effects on human milk are likely to be minimal. However, where there is any doubt concerning a mother’s confidence to continue nursing a child immediately following treatment, she can usually express and store some milk the day before treatment.