If you've just become a patient of a dentist, here are two important things you should tell them at your first appointment.

You should tell them if you're allergic to latex

Many dental patients are quick to let their dentists know that they are allergic to certain medications but will often forget to mention that they're allergic to latex. It's very important not to forget to tell your new dentist if you're allergic to this material because some dentists routinely wear latex gloves when doing dental treatments on their patients.

If this is the case with your new dentist and you have this allergy, you might end up having a reaction when they touch your mouth with their hands. At best, the wheezing, itching or congestion that this causes might result in the dentist having to stop doing the treatment and you then having to reschedule this appointment. At worst, you might have difficulty breathing and need to be transported from the dental clinic to a hospital. If, however, you tell this dentist that you have this allergy and describe how severe it is, they can then put a note in their patient record system about this allergy and wear non-latex gloves whenever they treat you in the future.

You should discuss any relevant phobias you have

You should also talk to your new dentist about any relevant phobias you have. For example, if you have a phobia of needles and get very anxious when you have to get an injection during a dental procedure, then you should mention this. This will achieve two things; firstly, it will ensure that if at the start of future dental treatments, you react badly to the dentist telling you that you need an injection (for instance, if you start crying or shaking), they will understand what is wrong and will be able to reassure you.

Secondly, it will allow you and your dentist to come up with a plan to help you cope with your phobia when you need treatments where getting an injection is unavoidable (for example, if you have to have a local anaesthetic injected if your dentist needed to work on any parts of your tooth that involved the nerves). They might offer to provide headphones and music or to put a film on a screen in the treatment room that you can watch to distract yourself whilst you're being injected.