If you've recently been diagnosed as having an allergy to latex, then you'll need to take steps to minimise your exposure to the substance. As well as making sure that you aren't exposed to latex around your home and work environments, you also need to think about other places where latex is commonly used, such as your dentist's surgery. When might you be exposed to latex at your dentist's surgery and what can you do to avoid contact?
Common Uses of Latex at the Dentist
The most common source of latex in dental surgeries is in the gloves that dentists wear for hygiene purposes. Gloves are not the only source of latex, however, and it may be found in some other dental tools and instruments.
For example, the rubber dam sheets that your dentist uses to isolate teeth during procedures are often made from latex, as are some mouth props that help keep your mouth open during some treatments. Local anaesthetics may also be a problem if their storage containers or the syringes that administer them contain latex.
Avoiding Contact With Latex at the Dentist
Your dentist can create a latex-free environment for you by using products and tools that don't contain any latex. For example, your dentist can switch to using latex-free gloves. They can also replace some tools that usually contain the substance with ones that use alternative materials such as silicon. Latex allergies are common enough for alternative products to be available, so this shouldn't be an issue; however, you may want to give your dentist advance notice about your allergy, especially if you have a dental procedure scheduled in the near future that requires your dentist to order latex-free tools.
Even if you haven't got any dental appointments scheduled for a while, you should inform your surgery about your latex allergy as soon as possible so it can be noted on your records. It may also be worth asking your dentist's receptionist if you need to talk to your dentist about your allergy. You can also ask if the surgery has latex-free measures in place already or whether these would need to be set up. While some dentists may already have patients who need latex-free treatments, you may be the first allergy sufferer for your dentist. Advance notice gives your dentist the chance to make sure that any check-ups or procedures you may need to have in the future don't involve exposure to latex.Share
14 August 2018
I have worked as a school nurse for decades. Children come to me with all sorts of scrapes and bumps and bruises. Black eyes from playing football, sprained wrists from falling off the monkey bars and stomachaches from too many sweets are common complaints. However, the issue that seems to cause the greatest angst is tooth problems. Sometimes a child will have a second tooth knocked out when playing sport and parents arrive in tears. At other times, children come to my office crying because their friends are teasing them about teeth that are discoloured or stick out. I take an active interest in the latest dental news so that I can give parents and children comfort and advice. I have included some of my collected wisdom on these pages. Perhaps this information can help you understand some options when faced with a dental problem. Thank you for reading.