It’s that time of year again! Maybe you’re packing up your family, hopping in the car or jumping on a plane, and heading off to visit relatives or friends to celebrate the holidays. Let’s face it, if you’re like most people, your primary dental concern ahead of your departure date is remembering to pack your toothbrush and floss.
Unfortunately, the reality is that dental emergencies can occur during a vacation. Would you know what to do if you or your child wakes up with a throbbing toothache or a lost filling when you’re many miles away from your dentist? Here are some tips for how to handle a dental emergency while traveling.
Scenario one: so you’ve bitten extra intensely into your favorite sweet treat and managed to lose a filling in the process. First things first: don’t panic, assess the damage. Does the tooth hurt? Does the hole left behind feel jagged? If it’s painful, swish your mouth out carefully with lukewarm water to remove any food or debris. If it’s not, you can carefully and gently brush the area.
The next step would be to contact or visit the nearest pharmacy and look for temporary dental filling material, which is typically kept in the same aisle as toothpaste. If you can, buy one that contains clove oil because that will help the nerve of your tooth settle and relieve some of the discomfort, if you’re experiencing any. Make sure that you carefully follow the directions, and keep in mind that this is a temporary solution. It’s imperative that you make an appointment to have it replaced by your dentist, a professional, as soon as you return from your travels.
Scenario two: Have you ever woken up with unbearable pain in your mouth? A toothache can be a difficult feeling, and even worse to accept when you’re far from home, away from your dentist. Here are a few ways you can try to relieve the pain while you’re on your vacation:
- First, take an over-the-counter pain reliever. This should help to reduce the inflammation and pain.
- Next, brush and floss thoroughly. Food can get under the gum-line and cause a lot of irritation. For example, if you’ve recently consumed food like popcorn, or anything else with tiny, hard pieces that might have gotten lodged under your gums, pay even more attention while flossing.
- Lastly, apply a warm or cold compress, depending on what feels better. Make sure it’s not too hot or too cold. Sipping hot tea or a cold drink might also help.
Scenario three: Has that toothache led to swelling around the jaw? If you experience swelling that is coming from a tooth, it’s important to get it checked as soon as possible. Ask your local friends and family if they might be able to get you an appointment with their dentist, or search online for an emergency dentist in the local area. If you can successfully secure an appointment, it will certainly work to your benefit as you might need an emergency procedure or an antibiotic.
Worst Case Scenario
If you’re unable to find a dentist in the area to see you, you might have to go to an urgent care center or, as a last resort, the emergency room. While these providers may not necessarily be able to treat the tooth, they can at least give you an antibiotic to control the infection, if that’s the problem.
No matter what type of dental emergency you have while traveling, be sure to contact us to make an appointment as soon as you arrive home. Also, keep in mind that being up-to-date on your dental checkups can detect a problem before it becomes a painful emergency!