How to Handle a Dental Emergency While Traveling

Many people ignore their dental health. They may feel that dentists are just after their money, and that they don’t care about their actual health. Some are terrified of going to the dentist because they fear that they will inflict severe pain on them. Others simply believe that they should only visit a dentist if they are in pain. Whatever the reason may be, millions of people avoid visiting their dentist every year, if at all.

Unfortunately, avoiding regular dental checkups can cause very serious problems down the road. What may have started as a small cavity may grow and spread to adjacent teeth. The teeth may become infected and form abscesses, which can spread to the lungs and other vital organs. Visiting a dentist every 6 months may actually save your life.

Here we will go over what you should do in the event that you suffer a dental emergency while you are traveling abroad.

What is a dental emergency?

It is important to know the difference between a dental emergency and a conventional dental issue. Profuse bleeding and severe pain are signs that you are dealing with a dental emergency. A major infection, such as a dental abscess, is a definite dental emergency. A dental abscess can lead to death if not treated quickly.

Dental emergencies are issues that require timely treatment in order to stop hemorrhaging, eliminate severe pain, and/or salvage your tooth or teeth. Dental emergencies will often keep people up at night, making it impossible to work, eat, or sleep until they are treated.

Emergency dentistry helps alleviate pain, stop bleeding, and may be able to save your tooth or teeth from being extracted. Once a tooth is extracted, implants may be required in order to replace your lost tooth.

Common Dental Emergencies

A tooth may become knocked out during a fight or accident. Blunt force trauma can lead to the loss of many teeth, as well as a possible broken jaw. Teeth may also become chipped or cracked. You may bite into something hard, such as an eating utensil or a bone, that can damage your teeth.

Abscessed teeth are often the result of oral hygiene negligence. A cavity will continue to grow unless it is treated by a dentist. Cavities will not go away without dental intervention, and they may become severely infected if not treated in time.

The abscess may become filled with pus, which may appear white or yellow in colour. An abscessed tooth may be saved via a root canal, which will involve removing the pus by draining the abscess and removing the dead sections of the infected tooth.

Teeth may also become dislodged or displaced due to injury, disease, or bad dental work, such as poorly set braces or dentures. One or more of your dental restorations may cause severe pain in the future, or they may break due to an accident.

Deep cavities will almost always cause severe pain, as well as sensitivity while eating and drinking. An untreated cavity will eventually spread to adjacent teeth, causing even more pain. 

An object that has become lodged between your teeth should also be seen as a dentist, as trying to remove it on your own may cause damage to your mouth, and you may accidentally swallow the foreign object as well.

If you wear dentures or braces, then they may cause an injury in the future, or they may cause discomfort. Dentures will also need to eventually be repaired and/or adjusted as well.

Dealing with Dental Emergencies on Your Own

If you are dealing with a dental emergency, then you should gently rinse your mouth with some warm water and salt to help disinfect the mouth and remove food particles. You may also use a cold compress to help relieve pain and swelling. 

Afterwards, call your dentist and ask to be seen the same day. If they are unable to accommodate your request, then drive to the hospital or to the closest emergency dental clinic. Emergency dental clinics are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Preparations to Make Before Traveling

Consult with your dentist before you actually go on your trip. They will check your teeth and mouth, and perform any required dental work before you leave on your trip. Reduce sugar consumption, which includes soda and candies as well, as they can cause cavities.

Also, ensure that all of your health insurance papers and details are in order before you travel abroad. You may also want to purchase some travel and dental insurance, as it may come in handy in the event of a dental emergency while traveling.

In the event that you do suffer a dental emergency, first seek assistance at the information desk. Many modern airports have professional dentists onsite in order to treat dental emergencies.

Be Prepared

The last thing you want to deal with is a dental emergency while you are away on business or for leisure. Taking charge of your health and preparing for a worst-case scenario will provide you with peace of mind.

You should also look for any warning signs. Tooth sensitivity or pain may be a sign of a cavity forming. You may want to try a tooth sensitivity toothpaste, such as Sensodyne, in order to relieve the pain. Having a bottle of Tylenol or Advil handy may also temporarily

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