Tooth Care for Travelers

Tooth Care for Travelers

Dec 23, 2013

If you will be traveling this Christmas, make sure that you have a plan for taking care of your oral health.

See your dentist about any potential dental problems well in advance of your trip, especially when you will be traveling by plane. The change in pressure during air travel can cause issues after some procedures, such as root canals.

There are certain things you can do to decrease the likelihood of a dental emergency while away from home.

  1. Don’t chew on ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy – all of which can cause damage to your teeth.
  2. Although sometimes it can be tempting to cut things with your teeth, such as tape used when wrapping gifts, it is not a good idea. The same goes for opening holiday gifts with your teeth.
  3. Keep the number of the American Dental Association in your phone or wallet so that you can call them if you need a referral for a local dentist.

Sometimes accidents happen. If you do have a dental emergency, consider these suggestions. Here’s what you can do until you see a dentist:

Toothache? Rinse your mouth with warm water. Then use a dental floss of interdental cleaner to remove any debris from your teeth. If discomfort persists, contact a dentist.

Cracked Tooth? Apply a cold compress to the area to reduce swelling, then see a dentist or go straight to an emergency room for treatment.

Broken Tooth? Gently swish warm water in your mouth to clean the area. Next, apply a cold compress to control swelling.  See the dentist right away.

Lost Tooth? You should never scrub a tooth after it has been knocked out. However, you hold it by the crown and carefully rinse it off. Try to put the tooth back in the socket if at all possible. If you are unable to put the tooth back, the ADA recommends putting the tooth in a cup of milk and seeing a dentist right away. You can also use Save-A-Tooth, which is sold at most pharmacies. It is a good idea to keep some on hand in case of an emergency. The solution will keep the tooth safe for up to an hour so that you can have a dentist implant it.

Traveling Out of the Country

If planning a trip outside of the U.S., see your dentist before you leave, especially if you have a history of gum infections. Make an appointment for a cleaning and dental exam so that your dentist can rule out any potential issues that could crop up while you are away.

It is also smart to have an idea of where to turn in case of a dental emergency while out of the country. A database of medical personnel around the world, including health care practitioners who can make dental referrals, is available through IAMAT (International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers). Membership to IAMAT is free and open to the public.

Dentists living and working in Europe can join the ADSE (American Dental Society of Europe) after completing a full-time course of study at an accredited dental school in the U.S. or Canada. The ADSE website has information about dentists available for treatment.

The Craig Armstrong, DDS team wishes you and your family a safe and healthy holiday season!

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