My yearly dental check-up and cleaning came up just two months after my patch test confirmed a number of allergies. I was afraid to book my appointment, especially since I had been having a month-long reaction since the patch test, but it had to happen. Taking a cue from my hotel visits, I decided to plan ahead, and was pleasantly surprised. My dental office really looked after me, and got me in and out as quickly as possible. Here’s what I did:
- Call ahead, at least a week ahead of time. Let the office know you have chemical allergies and ask them if they can check their products to make sure the procedure you need doesn’t use anything that will cause you to react.
- Send an email to the office so that they have a written reference. Include:
- A list of the chemicals to which you are allergic
- A list of any products you think they may use at the office that contain any of these chemicals.
- An explanation of what kind of reaction to these chemicals you experience.
- A request for a reasonable amount of accommodation with regards to your needs – be realistic!
- An offer to answer any questions they may have.
- If you haven’t heard back from the office by 48 hours before your appointment, call the office again and confirm that everything is prepared for your visit.
- At the office, don’t act contrary to what you said your needs were.
Two days before my appointment, the hygienist who would be working on my teeth called. She told me the changes they would be making to the products and procedures they normally used, and asked questions about her own personal care products to make sure she, the person spending the most time near me, wouldn’t cause any reactions.
On the day of my appointment, I used eye drops and topical medication. I was called in a little later than my husband. I avoided sitting in the waiting room chairs. Before the hygienist called me in, she asked if dish soap would be okay to wipe the chair after their disinfectant. I suggested water instead. Once in the chair, she did the scaling as quickly and thoroughly as possible. She let me know she had hung her scrubs outside that morning to air them out a little before coming to work (much to her boyfriend’s confusion, on a cold, February morning). She didn’t wear any hairspray or perfume. She used dry rather than flavoured polish to polish my teeth, then did x-rays. She then got the dentist in to see my quickly afterward. He gave me a quick check, said that everything looked good, and then I was done. At home, I showered and reapplied medication.
To my intense relief, I had almost no reaction from my dentist visit. I hope that my experience can help others, but if you can’t even manage this much, I hear dentists do exist that will visit you in your own home, though you may have to call around.
What kind of experience have you had at the dentist? What measures helped you to have a comfortable visit? Comment below.