Dental emergencies are never convenient or pleasant, but at least if one happens when you’re at home, you know that your dentist is a short drive away. But what if you face sudden tooth trouble when you’re traveling? Whether you’re relaxing at your favorite resort, camping in the wilderness, or in the middle of an international adventure, an oral health crisis can put a huge damper on your vacation. Here are tips from your emergency dentist on how to make the best out of a bad situation.
Prepare and Prevent
No one plans on having a dental emergency. Still, if you accept the possibility that it will happen, you’ll be in a better position to handle the situation — or maybe prevent it altogether.
- Keep a small first-aid kit with you. Mild painkillers, gauze, and cold packs may all come in handy.
- Make sure you have your dental insurance information in your wallet. If you are traveling internationally, purchase a travel insurance plan that covers dental work.
- Have a checkup before your trip. Your dentist can identify any problems, such as tooth decay or gum disease, that might contribute to a dental emergency. Hopefully, you’ll be able to address such issues before you take off.
- Be careful about what you eat. You might be tempted to try all sorts of new food when you’re traveling, but if you know that a certain dish might aggravate an existing dental problem, choose to eat something else.
Contact a Dentist
If you’re traveling domestically, there’s a good chance that you’re not far from a skilled dental professional. A quick online search should make it easy to find someone who is qualified to help you out.
Even if you’re in another country, particularly Canada or somewhere in Europe, it’s likely that you’ll be able to contact an English-speaking dentist who can care for you. However, because prices for dental care vary radically from place to place, it’s a good idea only to check with your travel insurance policy to see if they’ll cover treatment from a particular dentist.
Manage the Situation
Before you get in to see a dentist, there may be some steps you can take to manage your pain and prevent further damage to your mouth:
- Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth that hurts.
- Use mild painkillers to mitigate your discomfort.
- If a tooth got knocked out, gently rinse it off as you hold it only by the crown (the top part). Store it in your mouth or in a glass of milk or water until you get to the dentist. Ideally, you should receive treatment within an hour of when the tooth gets knocked out.
Stay in Touch with Your Regular Dentist
Even if you’re thousands of miles away from your regular dentist, you should still call them. They can give you specific advice on how to handle the situation. Then, after you receive primary treatment for your problem and come back home, you can attend follow-up appointments with the dental care professional you know and trust.
We hope a dental emergency doesn’t put a damper on your vacation, but if it does, use the above tips to get through the situation with as little stress as possible.
About the Author
Dr. Erick T. Anderson earned his dental degree from Oregon Health Sciences University in 1994. He is always ready to help during emergency situations, so if you have questions about how to handle a toothache, knocked-out tooth, or other urgent oral health concern, contact our office right away at 719-593-0988.