I should have known – just like any other thing that Autumn does and is exposed to, its never easy to keep her safe. The dentist is no exception:
About a year ago, Autumn went to the dentist and he told us to watch one of her teeth – that she may have a cavity and everything else looked good. About six months after, that tooth and another definitely had a cavity.
He wasn’t a pediatric dentist, so off we went to another dentist to get help. They weren’t able to get x-rays due to her small mouth and gag reflex, but he could tell that there definitely was a bad cavity that might even have to be pulled out! The only way they would do the work was if they performed all the procedures while Autumn was under anesthesia.
The plot thickens… Come to find out that the anesthesia that they use most often is propofol (yes, the very same drug that Michael Jackson overdosed on). Turns out propofol contains eggs – more specifically a protein found in egg yokes. Darn! We got the feeling very quickly that this dentist did not feel comfortable with Autumn and the risk involved in working on her with her food allergies, and in return we felt she would not be safe in his hands. As a result, he tried to refer us to someone 2 hours away that might be able to help – and by help, he suggested that she may need to be hospitalized. I’m thinking – “What! For a cavity!!”
This started a long ordeal of trying to find a dentist (who wasn’t insane) and a pediatric dental anesthesiologist who would help us. After months of phone calls, appointments, and worry we finally found a dentist who would help Autumn and an anesthesiologist who would do the procedure without the propofol. I’m happy to report that Autumn had the procedure a week ago, and everything went really smoothly. Beyond a sore mouth she was fine afterward, and no allergic reactions. Phew!
This whole ordeal was an important lesson for us. Now we know that if she ever had to have surgery, she should not be given propofol.
So when you go to the dentist its important that your dentist is comfortable working on children with food allergies and understands your specific food allergy concerns. Ask questions to the hygienist about everything that will be going into your child’s mouth. Find someone who is comfortable with you being in the room. Look at ingredients, it might be helpful to ask for ingredients lists beforehand – don’t trust that the hygienist or dentist knows what ingredients could be potential allergens. In fact, most of the time, the ingredients are just a confusing list of chemicals so being able to look things up beforehand will help. In our case, the hygienist didn’t know the ingredients in some of the cleaning agents and fluoride treatments so we had to avoid those all together. It’s OK to say no!
Make sure the allergies and concerns are properly noted on the dental records and charts for all to see. I also suggest talking with your allergist about potential threats at the dentist for your specific allergy – for example: certain types of egg allergies permit the use of propofol.
Below is a list of potential hazards you may encounter at your dentist. Feel free to comment with any others you know about.
- polishing paste – many polishing agents contain gluten, also check for pinenuts and other nut oils
- topical anesthetic – this comes in many flavors including strawberry, pina colada, and others
- propofol – for procedures where the patient will need to be under anesthesia, contains a protein found in egg yokes
- cement – temporary cement could contain an ingredient called eugenol which is derived from cloves
- flouride treatments – could contain nuts, dairy, peanuts
- toothpaste – could contain milk proteins, check for an ingredient called recaldent also found in flouride treatments and gum
- gloves and tools – latex
Despite all this, Autumn likes going to the dentist and is still enthusiastically brushing and flossing her teeth so we feel really relieved. I posted the cat brushing his teeth photo because it always cracks Autumn up – we showed her this photo when she was first learning to brush her teeth and it actually helped her to do it.
Until next time, Lisa
Photo by Zoebess