Tooth Talk with Brinkley Dental Group – Allergies and your visit to the Dentist

With the continuing rise in the prevalence of allergies the Brinkley Dental team, no doubt like many other Dentists and Orthodontists, are being asked some good, but tough, questions by our patients. Recent research suggests that as many as 7.5% of the population now has at least one food related allergy so it’s an important topic. How does having an allergy potentially affect dental treatment and what do you need to be aware of when visiting your Dentist? Today, while by no means a comprehensive list, we thought we would have a conversation about having allergies and your visit to the Dentist.

For most people, a visit to their local dental care team is no big deal. Scheduling a cleaning, having a filling, you’re in and out with minimal fuss. As we are learning from the allergy community however, for some folks a visit to the Dentist requires a bit more pre-planning.

As with any health history, first and foremost your Dentist should be aware of any relevant health issues that you may have and the short answer is – all your health history is relevant! We’ve talked before about how certain illness can cause dental issues and why your Dentist should be aware of things like whether you are undergoing cancer treatment. Well the same should be said for allergies. Your dental team needs to know what you are allergic to, what your possible reaction might be and then work together with you to devise a strategy for ongoing treatment that looks after your teeth while keeping you safe.

Perhaps you’re thinking what on earth could cause an allergy in a dental office. The most obvious one is latex. More and more patients are coming to us with a latex allergy and in fact, many dental care professionals (and health care professionals in general) are developing allergies to this material. Luckily, latex-free gloves are readily available and your patient chart will be duly noted that latex-free is required for your treatment. It’s always a good idea to remind any health care worker of your allergies however, before treatment starts. A little extra caution never hurt anyone!

Brinkley Dental is not an expert on allergies of course but we have learned from our patients a few other interesting things over the years. If you are allergic to bananas (or even kiwi) for example, you MIGHT also be allergic to latex so it’s probably still a good idea to ask us to use latex free gloves. If you are allergic to fish/shellfish, you MIGHT experience a problem with alginate – an ingredient used in some dental offices to help make mold impressions of your teeth. (This is often an issue in the orthodontist office.) While reactions are extremely rare, a patient with this type of allergy should let the dental team know and then have a discussion about the best form of treatment, deciding together whether to avoid alginate exposure. There are other materials that can be used to make impressions and/or laser technology that avoids the whole “impression” process in the first place. As well, some dental offices do use impression materials that don’t contain alginate.

It’s unlikely you might come across any concerns about exposure to peanuts and tree nuts in your Dentist office but again, it’s always a good idea to ask your Dentist about potential exposure to any of your allergens and be sure to disclose your full health history prior to the start of any treatment. As we are learning along with our patients – vigilance around potential allergen exposure is the best form of prevention. If you have concerns, schedule an appointment today with Brinkley Dental in Brampton. We’re family friendly, centrally located on the Brampton/Caledon border and we take your WHOLE health history seriously. As always, thanks for reading and remember: “don’t forget to be a BFFwith your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”