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How to Manage Emergency Dental Situations while Traveling

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When you’re on vacation, the last thing you want to deal with is a broken denture or a lost crown. Unfortunately, dental emergencies can and do happen at the worst times. When you’re far from home, it may be difficult or impossible to find an emergency dentist. It’s wise to obtain information about emergency dental services before you leave home. If you have a dental emergency while traveling, and you can’t get help right away, here are a few useful tips for dealing with the situation until you can obtain proper care.

How to Handle Toothache Emergencies

If your tooth hurts, rinse your mouth gently with warm tap water. Use dental floss to clean your teeth in case there is food or debris lodged between them, which can cause a toothache or make an existing one worse. If cleaning your tooth doesn’t help the pain, contact a local emergency dentist, or visit your dentist when you get home. You should never place aspirin against your tooth because it can burn the gum tissue. Over-the-counter pain relievers should be swallowed if necessary to reduce pain.

What’s Best to do for Broken Dentures

A dental emergency while traveling doesn’t always involve natural teeth. If your dentures break or you suddenly find that they don’t fit, you should NOT attempt to repair them by yourself. You may be able to find a dentist in the area who can perform minor repairs or adjustments. Then make sure to see your own dentist when you get home. If your dentures are causing painful sores or irritation, take them out or stick to soft foods until you can get them fixed.

Losing a Crown or Filling

If you lose a filling, place over-the-counter dental cement in the cavity. Chewed sugarless gum can also be substituted in a pinch. If your crown becomes detached, slip it back over the tooth and hold it in place using temporary dental cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive. If you’re unable to find emergency dental assistance at your location, call your dentist as soon as you arrive home or even while you are en route.

When Teeth are Broken, Knocked-Out, or Cracked

Emergency care is especially important if you have a broken, cracked, or knocked-out tooth. If you can’t see a dentist, visit a hospital emergency room. In the meantime, collect all fragments of the affected tooth. You can rinse a knocked-out tooth with water, but never scrub or clean it, and only hold it by the crown. If possible, place it back into its socket, and hold it in your mouth until you can obtain emergency dental care. If that’s not possible, place it in milk, and take it with you to the emergency dentist. Obtaining help within an hour of the injury gives you the best chance of saving the tooth, so time is of the essence. A cold compress can help to reduce swelling while you wait for help.

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