For many people, summer is a time to hop in the car for a road trip or book a flight to the nearest sandy beach. Unfortunately, you can’t take a vacation from dental emergencies but you can be prepared. Here’s what to do if dental disaster strikes when you’re far from home.
The Emergency: A throbbing tooth.
Quick Fix: Brush and floss. Your problem could simply be a piece of food that’s gotten lodged in an uncomfortable spot. Still hurts? Then stick to soft foods and try an over-the-counter pain reliever until you can get to the dentist. Don’t put the pain reliever right on your gums, and don’t apply heat.
The Emergency: Bent wires on braces or dentures.
Quick Fix: If you or your child has braces, make sure you stop by your orthodontist to pick up some dental wax before you leave town. It will be a lifesaver – or a cheek-saver – if you happen to have a broken piece or a stray wire while you’re vacationing; you can use the wax to keep the broken piece from jabbing you in the cheek or gums. Don’t try to bend any wires yourself. Keep all broken pieces so you can show your dentist when you get back.
The Emergency: Lost filling or crown.
Quick Fix: Dental wax will work to keep the sharp edges of your tooth from bothering you. Save the crown or filling if at all possible, and if you happen to have denture adhesive handy, you can use it to temporarily reattach the crown until you can get to the dentist.
The Emergency: Bad canker sore
Quick Fix: Treat it right by avoiding spicy foods and keeping it clean, and your canker sore should be gone in a few days. In the meantime, using over-the-counter numbing gels can help, but stay away from steroid creams. If you’re prone to problems like these, ask your dentist about medication before your trip – he or she may prescribe something that will heal your sore faster.
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