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Ah, summertime!  Long days filled with water sports, barbecue, and of course vacations.  Many of us spend a significant amount of time planning our family’s summer getaways to places near and far.  We have itineraries filled with fun cultural activities and great local eats.  However, when planning these trips, what to do in the event of a medical emergency rarely crosses our minds.

After all,  if we’re careful, what could possibly go wrong?  Considering what to do if one of your fellow travelers encounters a medical emergency should also be a part of your vacation plans.

Planning Ahead:

In order to assure that your teeth are in tip top shape, get a checkup from your dentist before you head out on your trip.  This is especially important when traveling via airplane. If you have any tooth decay, fillings, or have had any other dental work done, tiny pockets of air can get into your teeth. As the plane pressure builds, the pressure in your teeth builds, and that causes pain.

Before traveling, making a Dental First Aid Kit might be helpful.  You can pick up a Dental Emergency First Aid kit at your local outdoors and wilderness store.

  • If you experience a toothache, try swishing warm water around your mouth, and then pressing a cold compression pack against the area where you feel the pain.  Take ibuprofen.  If the pain persists, apply a numbing gel such as Orajel directly to the area in order to decrease the pain in that area.  If numbing gels and ibuprofen are ineffective, your tooth may be infected.  Contact your dentist, describe your symptoms, and he/she may be able to call in an antibiotic to the pharmacy nearest to your destination.
  • If your tooth is chipped or broken while on vacation, rinse your mouth out with warm water in order to clear the particles from your teeth.  If you are bleeding, apply gauze to the area until the bleeding stops, and then hold a cold compress to the area in order to reduce the pain and possible swelling.
  • If your tooth is knocked out, hold the tooth by the crown, rinse it off, and using force, attempt to replace it in its socket.  If this is not possible, place the tooth in milk.  Knocked out teeth should be replaced within the hour.
  • If your filling comes out, fill your tooth with the temporary filling mixture until you can reach a dentist.  If you don’t have temporary filling mixture, you can use sugar free gum to fill the area where the filling came out.
  • If your crown comes off, coat the tooth with over the counter dental cement, denture adhesive, or toothpaste, and then place the crown over the tooth.

I hope that these remedies for your dental emergencies help if you’re on your vacation and the unexpected happens!

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