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Nothing can ruin a vacation faster than a dental emergency. One minute you’re enjoying surf and sand, the next you’ve got a chipped tooth and more pain throbbing in your jaw than you can shake a pina colada at. What can you do? What should you do?

At Dental Specialty Associates, we know that there are some things you can do to prepare yourself for dental emergencies. Here is what you should do if you have a vacation dental emergency.

Check In Before You Check Out

Schedule a dental visit BEFORE you go on vacation. Make sure that you don’t have any dental health issues before you leave. Let your dentist know if you’ve been experiencing any recent aches or pains. Also let them know if you’ve had any bleeding in your gums or your teeth have become very sensitive to hot or cool foods. These can be warning signs of gum disease or a very weak teeth. While gum disease shouldn’t set in suddenly while you’re on vacation, a weak teeth could crack or fall out so it’s important that they identify and treat it before you leave.

Get A Referral

While visiting your dentist, ask them if they can recommend any dentists in the area you’re going to. Even if they don’t know anyone off hand, they should have resources that can let them dig around and find a reputable provider. Ask them for someone who’s willing to do emergency dental visits, who could fit you in on very short notice if need be. Having a recommendation in your pocket will come in handy should a vacation dental emergency arise during your trip.

Finish Your Root Canal Treatment First

If you’re having root canal work done, make sure it’s complete before going on vacation. The pressure changes that happen during a flight could agitate your teeth post-root canal and inflict pain on you. You’ll also be more vulnerable to infection while getting root canal work done, so it wouldn’t be wise to travel in that state.

Say No To Crunch Time

Avoid chewing hard substances while on vacation. This includes ice cubes, popcorn kernels, hard candies and anything else that can put too much strain on your teeth. These hard items can crack or chip your teeth. The best way to avoid causing a vacation dental emergency is to avoid these snacks in the first place.

Emergency Measures

If you crack or chip your teeth, you should immediately rinse your mouth out with water and then apply a cold compress to the area. Keep the compress in place to control your swelling and then seek out an emergency dentist or hospital immediately. Avoid putting any aspirins or painkillers against the gums or near the aching tooth. It could burn the gum tissue.

If you lose a tooth, here’s what you need to do. Hold the dislodged tooth by the crown (which is the thick top half of the tooth) and rinse off the tooth’s root in water. Do NOT scrub the tooth or remove any tissue fragments that they attach to. If you can hold the tooth back in its socket, do so as you get yourself to an emergency room.  If you can’t do that, put the tooth in a cup of milk and get it to a dentist as soon as possible. We recommend that your dentist reinsert your tooth as quickly as possible- Within an hour of it coming loose is ideal. The longer you put it off, the greater the chances that the tooth won’t survive.

For more information on what you should do when you have a vacation dental emergency, give Dental Specialty Associates a call at 602-795-5995.