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How to Handle Dental Emergencies on the Road

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

There is nothing worse than being in the middle of nowhere with a major toothache. You can’t eat, your teeth are sensitive to cold water, and you can’t sleep because you’re in agonizing pain. Not to mention you might not have dental insurance and you’re afraid of the dentist.

Dental emergencies and tooth pain happen to the best of us. Of course, it usually happens when you are 1,000 miles from home. While no one is a fan of visiting the dentist, if you experience severe tooth pain or injure your teeth while on the road it is important to see a dentist immediately.

While a toothache might not seem like a major health issue like a broken arm, any injury to the teeth or gums could be potentially serious or even life-threatening. Don’t ignore dental pain as it can increase your risk of developing permanent damage that could affect your dental health and put a big dent in your savings account.

What to Do If You Have a Toothache

Toothaches can mean a variety of things so it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible. Taking an over-the-counter painkiller should help relieve some of the pain in the meantime. If you experience any swelling, you can apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth. What to Do If You Have a Broken, Chipped or Knocked-Out Tooth Save any pieces. Rinse your mouth out with warm water. If it’s possible, you can try to put the tooth back into the socket, but if you can’t, place the tooth or any pieces into a cup of milk. The calcium helps preserve the tooth. See a dentist immediately because you have a high chance of saving the tooth if it can be returned to the socket within an hour.

What to Do If You Lose a Crown

Crowns are expensive so you definitely don’t want to lose it. If a crown falls off one of your teeth, save it and then make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. You might be able to slip the crown back over the tooth and glue it in with over-the-counter dental cement or denture adhesive.

What to Do If You Develop an Abscess

An abscess is an infection around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and the gums. Abscesses are a serious medical condition that could lead to permanent damage to the tissue and the surrounding teeth, and could potentially spread to other parts of the body if you leave it untreated.

See your dentist immediately for antibiotics and possible drainage. An abscess looks similar to a pimple and may lead to swelling of the gums. Prior to seeing the dentist you can help alleviate the pain by rinsing your mouth with a mild salt-water solution multiple times a day and taking an over-the-counter pain killer.

How to Find a Dentist on the Road

Being far from home can be problematic if you have a dental emergency, but you can easily search the Internet for dentists located nearby you. Dental franchises like Aspen Dental and Gentle Dental are found throughout the country and take walk-in dental emergencies.

Dental emergencies often come with a big price tag. A root canal and crown will set you back on average $2,000 to $3,000 without dental insurance. Even with dental insurance be prepared to shell out some cash. It’s always a good idea to have an emergency fund for things like this.

Health issues on the road, like dental pain and emergencies, are no fun. While toothaches may seem minor at the time, it’s important to seek out a dentist as soon as possible before you have permanent damage. Of course, regular preventative care like brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings can help prevent dental emergencies.

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