North River Dental Care

How to Handle a Dental Emergency While Traveling

person walking with luggage at sunset

Dental emergencies can be really frightening. When you’re traveling, they are especially unpleasant because you’re trying to have a good time and now your plans are interrupted. Here are tips on how to handle a dental emergency while traveling:

Know What a Dental Emergency Is

Knowing what constitutes a dental emergency is important. Toothaches are common if you’re traveling by plane because of the change in air pressure. However, if the toothache persists even after you get off the plane and you’ve taken a painkiller and rinsed out your mouth, you should consider seeing a dentist. Other dental emergencies include cracked or chipped teeth, lost crowns and fillings, broken dentures, and permanent teeth that have been knocked out completely. Gum bleeding without any discernible cause is also a reason to seek out emergency care, especially if there’s pain and swelling.

Research Emergency Dentists in the Area

You don’t know when a dental emergency might happen, but you can prepare for the worst ahead of time. Research emergency dentists in the area you’ll be traveling, so you know their hours, how far they are from where you’re staying, and if they accept your insurance. This way, if a dental emergency does happen, you don't have to figure something out while dealing with pain or fear. If your dental emergency is severe (for example, you’ve knocked your tooth out completely), the emergency room is also an option if you can’t get in touch with a dentist.

Know What to Do While You Wait for Care

What you do immediately after a dental emergency is important:

  • Toothache – Take a painkiller, rinse your mouth with warm salt water, and try flossing to remove any debris that could be aggravating your gums.
  • Cracked, Chipped, or Broken teeth – Collect any fragments and bring them with you to the dentist. If you’ve lost a filling, get some over-the-counter dental cement and put it in the hole. If a crown becomes detached, hold it in place over your tooth with temporary dental cement, denture adhesive, or toothpaste.
  • Knocked-Out Permanent Tooth – Saving the tooth is your top priority. Handle it only by its chewing surface and rinse it with water or milk (don’t scrub or use soap on it). If you can, put it back in the socket and gently hold it in place with gauze or a clean finger. If that’s not possible, keep it moist in milk. With knocked-out permanent teeth, you need to get care within the hour for optimal chance of saving your tooth.
  • Unexplained Gum Bleeding – Rinse your mouth with warm salt water and gently press non-woven gauze against the bleeding.

Traveling In This Area?

If you’re traveling in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania County, or nearby communities, our team at North River Dental Care offers emergency dental care. We set aside time in our schedule for same-day emergency appointments. So please contact us if you’re experiencing a dental emergency!


Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash


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