Pregnant and breastfeeding women have probably already heard that it is important to see the dentist and take care of their teeth. But women may be concerned about some of the exposures and medications that they might have at the dentist’s office. Is it safe to go to the dentist during pregnancy?

Are x-rays safe?

Dental x-rays are very low dose and focused on the mouth so they don’t affect the pregnancy or breastfeeding. Mom can wear the lead apron for extra protection. The materials used in fillings stay in the teeth and do not get into mom’s bloodstream in significant amounts so they are not a problem for pregnancy or breastfeeding.

What about pain medications?

Local pain medications, like lidocaine shots, used in routine dental work usually stay locally, don’t get into the milk very much, and are not absorbed well by the baby. They are also short acting so moms can breastfeed when she is ready to care for the baby.

General anesthesia and nitrous oxide are short acting and are not absorbed well by the baby, which is why they are given to mom by IV or gas. When mom is awake and alert, she can breastfeed the baby. Local and general anesthesia can also be used in pregnancy.

Other dental medications

Teeth whitening products and fluoride varnish can be used in pregnancy and breastfeeding since most of the product gets spit out and not much gets into mom’s system.

If you need antibiotics or medications for anxiety, talk to your dentist before the visit so you can get a prescription, find out when the dentist wants you to take them, and ask MotherToBaby about those medications by calling or texting. Also, we are always looking for women to help us with our research studies on asthma, autoimmune conditions, flu and Tdap vaccines, and other medications. If you have questions about antibiotics or other medications in pregnancy and breastfeeding, visit, call 801-328-2229, or use our new texting number 855-999-3525 during business hours.