One of the major challenges for dental clinics causing a significant financial effect is the cases of allergy and hypersensitivity to latex among the employees and their patients. The unwanted skin reactions also include dermatoses attributed to wearing rubber gloves by professionals (Japundžić et al., 2018). In this case, the risk factors for dentists are longer work experience, frequent glove changes, and hand washing, and they can hardly be eliminated without proposing substantial shifts in the clinics’ practices (Japundžić et al., 2018). As for the patients, their exposure to these harmful materials is of short-term nature but still leads to similar problems (Critchley, & Pemberton, 2020). Therefore, the solutions to the problem should target all affected persons to ensure their safety during the treatment.
The first option for eliminating the risks for patients of dental clinics deriving from allergic reactions to latex is the consideration of their medical history during the first visit to the facilities. As follows from the recent study, the previous cases of atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, and other similar conditions are clear examples of circumstances in which the use of rubber-containing instruments is unacceptable (Japundžić et al., 2018). Even though only 7% of people were reported to have them, this number is sufficient for proposing the measure (Japundžić et al., 2018). Thus, particular attention to individuals’ situations is the key to providing high-quality dental services.
Another solution is the replacement of rubber gloves with non-latex alternatives for routine operations. For example, using nitrile gloves is possible, and the majority of dentists have already adopted them alongside non-latex dental dams (Critchley, & Pemberton, 2020). Moreover, 76% of employees use them not only for examinations but also for surgical extractions (Critchley, & Pemberton, 2020). This outcome is confirmed by manufacturers reporting a decrease in sales of rubber gloves and other types of latex-containing products (Critchley, & Pemberton, 2020). In this way, this solution can beneficially complement the first suggestion and eliminate the risks of allergic reactions.
Critchley, E., & Pemberton, M. N. (2020). Latex and synthetic rubber glove usage in UK general dental practice: Changing trends. Heliyon, 6(5), e03889. Web.
Japundžić, I., Vodanović, M., & Lugović-Mihić, L. (2018). An analysis of skin prick tests to latex and patch tests to rubber additives and other causative factors among dental professionals and students with contact dermatoses. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, 177(3), 238-244. Web.