Getting ready to leave on vacation can be an overwhelming chore, especially when you are in charge of packing for a family. In addition to remembering travel essentials it is very wise not to forget about dental emergencies. Dental emergencies can ruin a vacation!
How to deal with Dental Emergencies Before You Travel
It’s a good idea to make an appointment for a dental checkup before you leave on your trip.
A checkup is especially important if you’ll be traveling in developing countries or in remote areas without access to good dental care.
Left to chance, emergency dental care may be uncomfortable, dangerous and expensive. Dental care providers in developing regions may not have the resources, equipment or supplies to take all of the recommended precautions for preventing disease transmission.
The best insurance is to have your teeth in tip-top shape before you depart.
But if a toothache should occur, a crown should fall out, your gums become inflamed, or any other dental emergency crops up, don’t panic; there are easy things you can do to stop the pain and preserve the function until you can visit a dentist.
Before traveling, making a Dental First Aid Kit might be helpful. You can pick up a Dental Emergency First Aid kit at your local pharmacies, or order them online.Most Dental kits contain:
Treatment Of a Toothache
Treatment of a toothache consists of locating the painful tooth and checking for any obvious cavity or fracture. Clean out any food with a toothbrush, toothpick, or similar tool. Then soak a small cotton pellet or, if not available, a small piece of cloth, in a topical anesthetic, such as eugenol, (oil of Clove) or benzocaine (Orajel) solution. This should then be placed in the cavity. A small pair of dental tweezers, like the type provided in commercial toothache kits, tick removing tweezers, or a small instrument like a toothpick is helpful in placing the cotton as it is often hard to get your fingers into the mouth. This topical anesthetic should give quick relief.
Commercial toothache medications that are available include Red Cross Toothache Medicine containing 85% eugenol, Dent’s Toothache Drops containing benzocaine and eugenol, and Orajel containing benzocaine. Some products include the small dental tweezers and cotton pellets that you will need.The type of topical anesthetic used is important. Dentists use pure eugenol for emergency treatment of toothaches since it is long-lasting, but this can be difficult to find. Oil of cloves is the same thing and is available without prescription at pharmacies and some health food stores. Be careful, however, as pure oil of cloves can cause chemical burns to the mouth and tongue if it gets off the tooth.
Once the medicated cotton is in place, cover it with a temporary filling material, such as Tempanol or Cavit (Tempanol is a temporary filling material that contains zinc oxide and eugenol (oil of clove) ) to prevent it from falling out. These are all soft, putty-like materials that can be molded into the cavity. If they are not available, soft dental wax or softened wax from a candle can be used. If a candle is used, melt some wax and let it cool until it is pliable before placing in the mouth.
A pain medication, such as 800mg Motrin every 8 hours, or prescription pain medicines, such as Vicodin, 1-2 every four to six hours, can be used if available. Do not place aspirin on the gum next to a painful tooth. Not only doesn’t it help, it causes a large, painful burn to the gum tissue.
Many countries have dental associations that can provide referrals. Dental referrals may also be available at the American Consulate or the American embassy in the country you are visiting.
I will discuss How to do Do-It-Yourself Dentistry On the following issues on my next blogs:
- Chipped or broken tooth
- Knocked-out tooth
- Extruded (partially dislodged) tooth
- Object caught between teeth
- Lost filling
- Lost crown
- Broken braces wire
- Loose braces bracket or band
In dentistry experience and Continuing Education are everything. Dr. Parvin Carter has over 30 years of experience in Practicing General Dentistry and 25 years in Orthodontics. She has thousands of hours of advanced training. In 2000, Academy of General Dentistry awarded Dr. Carter a Certificate of Mastership (MAGD) in General Dentistry. According to the Journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, only 1% of US dentists achieve this high level of advancement. Dr. Carter is a Certified and Preferred Provider of Invisalign. She has successfully treated over 430 patients with Invisalign.
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