Latex is a versatile material made from natural rubber. It creates a secure barrier against infection, so it’s commonly used in many medical settings. In fact, some 40,000 products, medical and otherwise, are made from latex. This rubber is virtually everywhere.
Needless to say, your allergy to latex is more than a bit inconvenient.
The dental office is no exception when it comes to the abundance of latex in the medical field. From routine dental cleanings and checkups to fillings, root canals, and implants, virtually every dental treatment typically involves latex. How can you ensure a safe visit for your dental treatment?
Be thorough when disclosing your health history to a dental professional. Questions on a form that might seem silly (i.e., are you allergic to bananas?) are actually designed to find connections to a possible latex allergy.
Ask your local dental office whether they are totally latex-free and if not, what protocol they have in place for treating patients with a latex allergy.
If a piece of equipment looks suspiciously made of latex, don’t be shy about asking before the dental professional uses it. Chances are, they use the equipment so routinely that they may forget it contains latex. Be your own advocate and speak up!
If you are worried that a dental professional will question the validity of your allergy, then keep a note from your allergist with you to put on file. In fact, if your allergy is severe enough, you should have a medical alert bracelet or chain on your person. Take it upon yourself to keep an Epipen with you at all times.
With a little careful forethought and clear communication, you can get the dental treatment you need in a safe and latex-free setting.
Posted on behalf of:
Preston Sherry Dental Associates
6134 Sherry Ln
Dallas, TX 75225
Latex allergies can range from minor skin irritation to severe responses that result in very painful, dangerous conditions. When patients see a dentist for the first time, it’s important that they let the front desk know they have a latex allergy well before they ever go back into the treatment area. Many times people simply get into a habit and may make contact with the patient wearing a latex glove before they realize there is even an allergy.
Your Alpharetta dentist will set up some type of alert system to notify the team at each visit that there is an allergy. It may be an automatic pop up that comes up on electronic charts, or a sticker on the outside of a patient file. Each office uses different ways to signal latex allergies, because they affect care from the very first seconds they see a patient.
Most dental offices use nitrile gloves as an alternative to latex when they are treating patients with allergies or sensitivities. Although in the past, some other pieces of equipment may have contained latex, most of those now currently used in dentistry do not. Dental dams are one exception, and do still contain latex due to the elasticity of the material, so those will need to be avoided and alternative methods used.
Allergies should always be taken very seriously, no matter how severe they are or what the patient is allergic to. Some minor allergies can easily become atypical allergic reactions that are much more severe than they would have been in the past. Always be sure to avoid irritants, and keep your dentist up to date on any medical conditions that you may have.
Posted on the behalf of Dr. Sarah Roberts, Crabapple Dental
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