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Itchy, swollen eyes, sneezing and a runny nose may sound like a case of seasonal allergies, but for many it's the reality faced each time they visit the dentist. According to the February 2008 issue of AGD Impact, the monthly newsmagazine of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), allergic reactions that occur in the dental office may be caused by materials or medications such as latex or local anesthetic.
Masks, gloves and syringes in the dental office are usually made of latex, which is a natural rubber harvested from trees. Prolonged exposure to latex dust from powered gloves can trigger an allergic reaction. Also, a small number of patients may also experience allergic reactions to local anesthetics, which are used to numb the mouth and gums during certain dental procedures. The type of anesthesia required depends on the needs or preferences of the patient. Although allergic reactions to local anesthetics are rare, they do occur.
Allergies to latex and anesthesia should not prevent patients from visiting the dentist. It is still important to visit the dentist twice a year and there are ways to avoid experiencing an allergic reaction.
Reviewed: January 2012
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