Emergency Dentist: Knowing When to Call

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Managing Dental Problems on Holiday Abroad

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A damaged tooth can ruin your precious holiday time. If you're heading abroad, read on for tips on preventing dental problems and for what to do if the worst happens.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Regular dental checkups will pick up problems as they occur. If you've not been vigilant with your dental care, book an appointment for a checkup at least 6 weeks before you go on holiday. This gives you the opportunity to have any necessary dental work done as well as giving you time to heal before your trip. Make sure all travel vaccinations are up to date, especially Hep B. This is most important in developing countries where dentists may not have been vaccinated against transferable diseases.

When Dental Problems Occur

Should the worst case happen, find an emergency dentist in your holiday area. Your hotel should be able to help you with this. In the meantime, the following guide should help you manage your symptoms until you can get treatment.

Managing Toothache

Your toothache may be caused by a piece of food trapped in a tooth. Try the following to see if it remedies your toothache.

  • Wash away debris by gently rinsing your mouth out with warm water.
  • Gently floss your teeth, then use an interdental brush to clean between them.

If this fixes the problem, enjoy the rest of your holiday and see your dentist for a checkup when you get home. If you're still in pain, read on.

  • Over the counter painkillers can help. Ibuprofen helps reduce swelling and pain.
  • A cold compress can also help with pain and swelling. Place one on the outside of your cheek over the affected tooth.

Do not apply ice or any painkiller directly to the affected tooth. Painkillers can burn the gum and ice may increase your pain.

Dealing with a Broken or Cracked Tooth

  • Rinse your mouth with warm water regularly to keep the affected tooth clean.
  • If the cracked tooth is bleeding, apply pressure with some gauze until bleeding stops. If you can't find gauze, a tea bag can be used instead.
  • For pain and swelling, place a cold compress over the cheek of the affected tooth.
  • Use painkillers if need be.
  • Try temporary dental cement to seal the broken tooth. This can usually be found in most pharmacies.

Coping with a Loose Crown

  • Do not wear a crown that has come loose as you risk swallowing it, which could be very dangerous.
  • Use temporary dental cement to reattach the crown until you get to an emergency dentist to have it repaired.