Whether you’re going out of town on vacation with your family or traveling for business purposes, a dental emergency can happen at any point. Your teeth and gums are susceptible to all types of possible crisis situations, especially when exposed to certain foods that are not consumed on a normal basis. To help you feel better prepared should a situation like this occur while you’re away, let your emergency dentist share 3 tips you can use to handle a dental problem until you return.
Assess the Emergency
It’s not always easy to determine if the current crisis you’re experiencing is actually an emergency. A few ways you easily tell is:
- Continual bleeding
- Increasing pain
If you want to err on the side of caution, it’s better to find someone who can examine your problem area and determine if there is an underlying issue that is causing pain or discomfort. If faced with any of the symptoms listed above, it’s best to get to a local emergency room for help.
Be Prepared for Common Emergencies
The following are some of the most common dental emergencies you might experience while away. Since any of these can occur at any time, it’s best to be prepared.
- Toothache: While traveling by plane, don’t be surprised if you experience a minor toothache. If the air pressure enters your tooth through a crack, cavity, or filling, it’s likely it will expand and cause discomfort. Once you land, the pain will go away. However, if your toothache occurs after you’ve landed and are thoroughly enjoying your vacation, it might be that something is lodged between your teeth. If so, rinse your mouth before using waxed dental floss to gently dislodge the object. An over-the-counter pain reliever can help to alleviate discomfort, but if the pain doesn’t subside, call a local dentist office.
- Broken or Cracked Tooth: If you are enjoying one of the local’s favorite restaurants and trying a new dish, you might bite down on something that causes a tooth to crack or break. Should this happen, rinse out your mouth and immediately apply an ice pack or cold compress to reduce swelling. Avoid chewing on the side of the problem tooth and find an emergency dentist who can help.
- Dislodged Tooth: Although rarer, a
knocked-out or dislodged tooth is possible while on vacation, so if this
happens, make sure you follow these steps, as time is of the essence.
- First, retrieve the tooth by its crown and rinse it off.
- Next, try to insert the tooth into the socket. If unsuccessful, place it in a container of milk or next to your cheek in your mouth to keep it moist.
- Find a local dentist and get help. If the situation is not treated within an hour of the incident, the tooth will most likely not be savable.
Find a Local Dentist Who Can Help
Since your normal dentist won’t be there to assess the situation, it is important that you find a local dental professional who can help in an emergency situation. This is where having travel insurance can be extremely beneficial. By calling your provider, you can ask for a referral to a nearby dentist after explaining your current situation. This will also make it much easier to find someone who accepts your dental coverage. Once you receive the care you need, call your local dentist’s office and explain the situation. It may or may not be necessary for you to make an appointment with your dentist when you return.
About the Author
Dr. Megan Shelton completed her undergraduate degree at Wichita State University before earning her Doctor of Dental Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. Not only is she committed to growing and improving within the field of dentistry, but she is also committed to continuing education, completing hours each year. She and her team provide the highest caliber of dental care possible, especially when you need it most. Facing a dental emergency and don’t know what to do? Call our office and let us walk you through each step. To learn more about Dr. Shelton or for questions about our services, visit our website or call (760) 434-9800.