Monday - Friday
8am - 5pm

Dealing With a Dental Emergency While Away From Home

vacation dental emergency
Creative Commons image by KansasPhoto (Flickr)

Vacation should be a time of relaxation, rest and rejuvenation. Unfortunately, some people on vacation experience dental emergencies. A dental emergency can take the form of a chipped tooth, lost filling or toothache. No one wants to deal with this at any time, but it can be particularly stressful to have a dental emergency while away from home, because you won’t be within easy reach of your dentist. Here are some tips on how to cope.

Try Home Remedies

Many times, a mild to moderate toothache can be treated with over-the-counter medications. If you can safely take ibuprofen, which goes by the brand names Advil and Motrin, do so. Otherwise, consider acetaminophen, usually branded as Tylenol, if that is safe for you to take. Be sure to read the directions on the bottle to avoid an overdose, particularly if you are taking other OTC medications at the same time. If there is any question, ask a local pharmacist.

You can also try swishing with warm salt water and flossing around the affected tooth well. Sometimes a toothache is caused by something stuck under the gum, and these actions can dislodge it.

Look for Temporary Dental Filling Material

Any local pharmacy and some discount stores or grocery stores will carry temporary dental filling material. You can use this to temporarily replace a lost filling in a tooth. You simply squeeze out or break off an appropriate-sized amount of the material, apply it to the hole in the tooth, and press down with a damp cotton swab. This will usually last a few days to a week or more, which should give you enough time to enjoy the rest of your vacation and get home to see your dentist.

Find Local Dental or Medical Care

If you are having a severe toothache or have broken a tooth, you will need to find a local dentist to help you. Let him or her know that you are traveling from outside the area so they will give you the information on what was done so you can report back to your own dentist when you get home. If you aren’t sure who to see, try asking your dental insurance company for a recommendation; they will refer you to someone who takes your plan, if at all possible. An online search for dentists in the city you’re in will also give you a list of names; you can follow up on Yelp or other review sites to see if they have a decent reputation among the locals.

In the rare event that you have a lot of facial swelling or your severe toothache is accompanied by a fever or you feel like you have the flu, you should seek medical care. In rare cases, this can signal a serious infection that can actually become life-threatening.

Always get in touch with your general dentist once you are home so he or she can provide follow-up treatment after a dental emergency that occurs while on vacation.

Call 919.388.3111 to make an appointment or

contact us