When you are going away for summer vacation, it’s important to know what to do in case you encounter a dental emergency. Being away from home means you won’t be able to go to your regular dentist, but there are times when you should still seek prompt care for serious dental problems.
Before Your Trip
Before leaving for your summer vacation, don’t schedule any big dental procedures. Your mouth needs time to heal from these procedures, and there’s a risk of complications that could occur while you’re away from home. Wait until after you’re back to have any major dental work done. You might want to go to the dentist for a cleaning and exam before your trip, though, especially if you’re due for your next check-up. This helps ensure that you have clean teeth and gums for your trip.
Practice Routine Dental Care
Even though you’re on vacation, don’t take a break from your regular dental care, such as brushing and flossing. Keep your toothbrush, toothpaste and floss handy, and make sure that you brush and floss at least twice a day.
What to Do for Dental Emergencies
No matter how careful you are, it’s possible to run into a dental emergency during your trip. Some emergencies require an immediate visit to the nearest dental clinic for prompt care, such as when a tooth is knocked out, or you have a severe toothache. Minor dental problems might be able to wait until you are home so that you can see your regular dentist for care.
Keep the following information in mind for a few common dental emergencies:
- Toothache. When you have a toothache, clean the affected tooth by rinsing it with warm water and flossing to remove any food particles that might be stuck. For mild aches, use over-the-counter pain relievers and see your dentist as soon as you get home. For serious toothaches, seek emergency care at the nearest dental clinic.
- Broken dentures. If your dentures break, don’t try to repair them on your own. Look for a local dentist who can do minor repairs, then see your dentist at home to ensure that your dentures are in good condition.
- Damaged or knocked out crown or filling. If you know you’ve lost a filling, don’t bother trying to replace it. Rather, clean the area extremely well, making sure food is not getting lodged in the space. If the tooth is very sensitive, it’s best to see a dentist immediately. For a loose crown, it’s best to leave it out of the mouth, as you don’t want to swallow or inhale it by accident, and you absolutely cannot leave it out, try using some denture adhesive as a very short-term fix. Even then, I recommend removing it when sleeping so it doesn’t come loose again. See your dentist for repairs as soon as you’re back or find an emergency dental clinic nearby if necessary.
- Cracked or knocked out tooth. If an entire tooth gets knocked out, you must act quickly. If dirty, rinse with warm water and try to put it back in, then go to an emergency dentist or a hospital ER for immediate care. Only handle it by the crown (the part of the tooth that’s normally visible in the mouth), and avoid touching the roof (the part that goes in the socket). Don’t try cleaning it with alcohol or by scraping it. If you can’t put it back in, place it in milk and bring it with you. Yes, milk! It’s better than tap water for this situation.
If you or someone you know is planning a summer trip and need additional information on dental care and emergencies, please contact us at Brewery District Dental at 604-522-2425.