What To Do If You Have a Dental Emergency While Traveling

Summer time is almost here, and you know what that means – road trips with the family!

This summer you and your family will experience new things, explore new places, try new foods, and you’re going to have a great time!

Until somebody has a dental emergency.

What’s a dental emergency? It’s when something unexpected — often painful — happens to your teeth that needs immediate attention. It usually happens after normal business hours, and it’s the easiest and quickest way to ruin a fun vacation.

The best way to avoid a dental emergency is by being prepared. So, you should always see your dentist about 2-4 weeks before you begin your trip. Then your dentist can have a close look at your teeth and see if anything needs to be treated before you leave. Whether it’s a cavity, a cracked tooth, or a filling that’s coming lose, your dentist will be able to find, and treat, anything that could possibly ruin your trip.

However, it’s the unforeseen dental emergencies that can really ruin your vacation. But this is when preparation is REALLY important. In this case, the internet is your friend. Search for dentists near where you’ll be staying, look on their website, and find their regular contact information AND their emergency contact numbers and/or email. Most dentists have this information readily available — including me. This way, if anything happens where you NEED to see a dentist immediately, you’ll have the information you need.

But let’s face it, even with all this planning, it’s still possible that you’ll have a dental emergency at just the wrong moment; when you’re far away from any dentist. If that happens, here are some suggestions for common problems. These are merely temporary solutions and if any of these happen, get to a dentist A.S.A.P.

Tooth Pain: Rinse your mouth with warm water to remove any food particles that could be causing discomfort. If that doesn’t work, try dental floss. If that doesn’t work, take over-the-counter pain medications and use as directed. DO NOT place aspirin against your gums – it could cause tissue damage.

Lost Filling: You can use chewed SUGAR FREE gum as a temporary measure, or even better would be to use over-the-counter dental cement.

Lost Crown: If you still have the crown, place it over the tooth and hold it in place with over-the-conter dental cement, toothpaste or even denture adhesive.

Knocked-Out Tooth: Place your tooth in milk and get to a dentist immediately. If you can get to the dentist within an hour, the tooth could be saved.

Nobody wants a dental emergency – especially when they’re on a trip that’s supposed to be fun. But if you follow my above suggestions, you’ll be able to quickly re-join your family and still have all those new experiences you were hoping for.

Safe travels,

-Dr. Taj

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