The great summer road trip season is upon us, and with it comes endless places to visit and adventures that will be remembered for a lifetime. What you don’t want those memories to involve are dental emergencies, especially if it is something that cuts short the vacation you’ve been planning for months – or a lifetime. What can you do if you find yourself away from home and you suddenly need a dentist?
Most people who have a general dentist see him or her for their regularly scheduled checkups. If traveling is in your future, it is a good idea to make an appointment to have your mouth examined. If you are going to be away for a long time, you may want to get any dental procedures you’ve been planning out of the way, such as root canals or wisdom teeth removal.
Preventing Emergencies on the Road
Keeping your teeth healthy on the road is just a little more difficult than it is while you are at home, especially if you are going to be camping, or going to undeveloped or remote areas of the world. Brushing and flossing is obviously important, but being more mindful of things that can hurt or break teeth should be considered. Don’t chew ice, hard candy, or popcorn kernels, and never use your teeth as a tool – that is, don’t cut tape or try to take off bottle caps.
What to do when Dental Emergencies Occur
You may prepare as much as possible, but still have a dental emergency pop up while you are on the road. Some of the most common problems include toothaches, broken teeth, cracked teeth, or a tooth that is knocked out.
Toothaches can be extremely painful. Things that can help are:
- Rinse your mouth with warm water
- Check to see if there is anything caught between your teeth using dental floss
- Ibuprofen may alleviate the pain long enough for you to soldier through, but may not resolve the problem
- Contact a local dentist if the toothache continues
Broken teeth, often caused by biting something hard or using teeth as a tool, can be helped through rinsing the mouth with warm water to clean the area, and cold compresses can keep swelling down. However, you should contact a dentist immediately if you suffer a broken tooth. Cracked teeth should be managed in the same way as a broken tooth. Cold compresses can control swelling, but it is important to get to a dentist as soon as you can.
While a broken or cracked tooth can be trouble, a tooth that is completely knocked out may be some travelers greatest dental concern. Some things that can be done when a tooth has been knocked out include:
- Rinse off the tooth with water if it is dirty while holding it by the crown (not the root). Do not scrub it or remove any fragments of tissue
- You should attempt to hold the tooth in its socket while going to a dentist, but this may be difficult for a plethora of reasons. The ADA states that it is OK to put the tooth in a cup of milk, but get to the dentist as soon as possible to see if it can be saved.
There are many ways for dental emergencies to occur while away from home. As with anything during travel, preparedness is going to help you keep calm during stressful situations. It is a good idea to look for dentists in the area you are traveling through, or where your destination is, and checking to see what they offer if an emergency occurs.
If you would like more information on what to do during a dental emergency during travel, or have a dental emergency yourself, contact the team at Jeanette Kern DDS today at 831-372-8011 at Dr. Kern’s office. Dr. Kern’s dental office is conveniently located at 660 Camino Aguajito #201 in Monterey, CA 93940.