Ask Your Houston Endodontist: What is Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is the medical term for an intense allergic reaction. When anaphylaxis occurs, it is usually severe enough to be life-threatening if not treated immediately. During anaphylaxis, your body is threatened by an incredible release of chemicals by your immune system. This typically results in your body shutting down and going into shock.

Usually, anaphylaxis occurs when you come into something you’re highly allergic to, such as a peanut or an insect’s sting. Once in a great while, however, anaphylaxis may occur in a medical situation. The most common signs of anaphylaxis are shockingly low blood pressure, trouble breathing, vomiting, nausea, and a rash.
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When Anaphylaxis Can Occur At The Endodontist

While anaphylaxis is extremely rare, certain materials used at an endodontist’s office have the potential to trigger it. The best way to prevent anaphylaxis is by knowing your own allergies, and making sure to alert your dentist of them.

Here are some of the materials that can trigger anaphylaxis at the dentist’s office:

  • Antibiotics – Penicillin and sulfonamides have the potential to cause a reaction, especially if directly administered.
  • Local anesthetics – Both injectable and surface anesthetics can cause a severe reaction.
  • Analgesics – Ingested medicine can cause anaphylaxis, especially NSAIDS, aspirin, and codeine.
  • Miscellaneous items – Certain other items, like denture repairs or latex gloves, could also cause an allergic reaction.

Recovering from Anaphylaxis

Luckily anaphylaxis is treatable as long as it’s treated immediately. Once the symptoms have been identified, an ambulance should be called immediately. An emergency oxygen kit should be used, and airways must be kept open. Epinephrine should be administered immediately, as it counteracts many of the allergic reactions, helping stabilize your breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate.

Once you have identified you are at risk for anaphylaxis, you should carry a dose of epinephrine with you at all times. It is extremely manageable, and you will not suffer any long-term effects so long as it is treated effectively. If at any point you believe you are suffering from an anaphylactic reaction, make sure to inject epinephrine immediately and contact medical personnel – your life could depend on it. Consult your Houston endodontist if you have more questions.

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