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Handling a Dental Emergency While Traveling

With the holidays right around the corner, many people will be planning to travel to visit family and friends in other parts of the country. If you are one of them, you will be making a list and checking it twice to be sure that you are prepared for your trip. One potential pitfall that you might not be prepared for is a toothache or a lost filling while on your vacation. While we hope you don’t need it, here’s a list of things you can do if you experience a dental emergency while traveling.

Take an OTC Painkiller

If you are dealing with a toothache, the fastest and easiest course of action is often to take a painkiller. If you can take ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil), that’s usually the best for reducing pain and inflammation. If not, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a good substitute. Follow the directions on the bottle and if you are taking any other medications, talk to the pharmacist at the store you go to to get the pills.

Look for Temporary Dental Filling Material

If you’ve lost a filling or a crown, dental filling material is available at most pharmacies. Look in the toothpaste aisle. This is a type of temporary cement that will reduce discomfort and smooth out the tooth (or hold the crown on for several days). Do keep in mind that this is only a temporary solution and that you will need to see your dentist when you get back.

Monitor for Signs of Infection

A toothache or a lost filling can turn into an infection, so it’s important to be aware of the signs. Swelling of the jaw, excessive pain, and a fever are all symptoms that you need to see a professional. In this case, the best course of action is to try to be seen by a local dentist. If it’s a weekend and no dentists are available, an urgent care center or, as a last resort, an emergency room can give you antibiotics if an infection is to blame.

Call Our Office

If you are traveling and you experience a dental emergency, we can advise you on what to do if the above options aren’t improving the situation. Also, we can make you an appointment for the day after you return home so we can get the problem addressed in a more permanent manner.