Vacation is a time for spontaneity. If you can’t take time out from your schedule to check out the world’s largest ball of twine or other roadside attractions while you’re on vacation, then you likely never will. We’re all for spontaneous fun. But we don’t think you should leave home without a dental emergency kit.
A dental emergency is bad enough when it happens at home. But it’s worse when you’re miles away from your family dentist – or, in the case of backcountry camping, miles away from civilization. A dental emergency kit will help you handle emergency situations like a toothache or broken tooth until you can get to a dentist.
We also suggest researching dental care facilities in your destination so you know where to go if you need help. This kind of preparation will help ensure everything goes as well as possible if dental disaster strikes.
We’re happy to help you any way we can! If you’d like advice on what to include in a dental emergency kit, or anything else, call Lakeside Dentistry at 507-316-6444.
Put These Items in Your Dental Emergency Kit
You can buy a dental emergency kit online, or you can make your own. You’ll find more than 300 of them on Amazon, many selling for less than $10. Because them focus on one or two problems (such as temporary repair of a filling, crown or dentures), it’s best to think of them as a starting point. You’ll need to add more general-use items if you want a truly useful kit.
This kit has a few essential components, and it’s stored in a small waterproof pack that would be especially handy on camping trips. It contains the materials for two temporary filling replacements, along with cotton balls, benzocaine ointment, and a tea bag.
You might not think of using a tea bag in a dental emergency, but the tannic acid in it can help relieve swelling from an impacted tooth. It’s a good choice if an ice pack isn’t available.
If you’re making your own dental emergency kit or looking to supplement a purchased one, we suggest including:
- Gauze. This serves many purposes, such as applying medication or stopping bleeding.
- Medical-grade gloves. Wear these to examine your kid’s mouth or to apply materials to repair your own.
- Small flashlight and dental mirror. These will help you get a better look at the problem.
- Tweezers. These are useful for many things, such as applying dental wax or even handling pieces of a broken tooth.
- Saline solution. This works well for rinsing blood or other substances out of your mouth. You can find it at most drugstores or grocery stores. Or make your own by combining salt and water. (Use half a teaspoon of salt per one cup of distilled water or water that has been boiled and then cooled.)
- Ice packs. These can numb pain and reduce swelling.
- Dental wax. You can use it to avoid irritation from a broken tooth, to cover a broken wire on braces, or even as a filling replacement. You can get it at many drugstores or on Amazon.
- Save-a-Tooth system. This product extends the amount of time you have to get a knocked-out tooth to a dentist, where it can hopefully be re-implanted. You just place the tooth in the preservative material and seal the container.
- Topical pain reliever. Good choices for numbing a painful tooth include clove oil, Orajel or Anbesol.
- Pain medication. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen will help minimize pain. But don’t use aspirin if you need to stop bleeding.
Know Where to Go in an Emergency
If you’re not camping out, you can probably find an emergency dental clinic. Some of them are even open 24 hours. While a hospital emergency room is another option, we recommend visiting a dental clinic if you can. An emergency room doctor will often just relieve any pain you’re feeling and refer you to a dentist for restorative dental care. So you’ve spent time and money that would have been better used by seeing a dental specialist in the first place.
You should go to the emergency room, though, if you’ve experienced trauma that resulted in severe swelling or deep cuts inside or around your mouth. And if you suspect a broken jaw, get to the emergency room ASAP. If you’re still not sure, call us at 507-316-6444; we’re happy to advise you.
It’s a good idea to enter the location and phone number of a clinic near where you’re staying into your contacts. In certain emergencies, like a knocked-out tooth, minutes can count.
If you experienced a dental emergency on vacation, it’s a good idea to see one of our Rochester, MN dentists when you get back. Call Lakeside Dentistry to make an appointment.