Dental emergencies are often painful, panic-inducing, and stressful, especially when you’re in the middle of a trip hundreds of miles away from your trusted dentist. More than that, most children don’t react particularly well to a dental emergency, and they can be put under unnecessary amounts of stress because of it. The result? A bad time for everyone and often a trip cut short.
Parents need to know how to handle a pediatric dental emergency wherever they may be. Having the knowledge of what to do is primarily what it takes to reduce the amount of pain your child experiences during one and may even mean the difference between saving and losing a permanent tooth. That said, we’ve come up with the most important things that you need to know in case your child experiences a dental emergency while traveling.
Before the trip
Take your child to the dentist. Getting a check-up before you leave is highly advisable, especially if your child has existing dental problems. Schedule a cleaning and a general check-up with their pediatric dentist at least a few weeks before you leave. This way, the dentist can alert you of any dental issues that your child may have and help you better prepare for them before your trip.
Find an emergency dental contact. Even though it is unlikely that your child may experience a dental emergency during the trip, it is still a good idea to research emergency dental care services beforehand. You never know if they will fracture their teeth or get their permanent tooth knocked out in the middle of vacation, and it makes all the difference to know where to go. Look up emergency dental clinics in that area and save their contacts on your phone just in case.
Read your medical and dental insurance policies. You’d want to ensure that your policy covers emergency dental care while traveling. If you don’t have medical insurance or if your current insurance doesn’t cover dental care, you may want to look into taking out a policy before you leave. Don’t forget to bring copies of your insurance details as well.
Pack pediatric pain medication. Toothaches are common for children, especially when they’re on vacation and the ‘limit your sweets’ rule is lax. Ensure that your first aid kit has pediatric pain medication so that you can give immediate relief to your kids while going to the local dentist.
During a trip
Watch what your child eats. Eating is one of the best parts of traveling, and your child will most likely be eating more sweets than usual (they’re on vacation, after all). Nevertheless, pay attention to how much sweets they eat and put a stop to it if they eat too much to avoid a toothache.
Maintain their regular oral hygiene routine. Being on vacation means your normal routine is quite off, so it’s crucial that you pay attention to your child’s oral hygiene. There are a lot of distractions for them and they may forget about brushing and flossing their teeth. Don’t forget to remind them to do so. Better yet, perform your oral hygiene routine with them to ensure that they’re doing brushing and flossing properly.
Apply first aid. In case your child runs into a dental emergency, here’s what you need to do:
- Toothache or mouth pain. Pain in and around the mouth doesn’t always signify a dental emergency, but it may also be a symptom of something serious. Give your child over-the-counter pain medication to give them relief and monitor their condition when you get to your destination. If their pain is persistent, go to a local dentist to find out the root cause.
- Chipped or broken tooth. Accidents can happen no matter how careful you or your child is. If they experience facial trauma that breaks or chips their tooth, apply a cold compress to their face to reduce the swelling and then head to the nearest dental emergency clinic.
- Dislodged tooth. A dislodged or lost tooth is perhaps the worst dental emergency your child can experience. In this situation, locate the tooth, rinse it with cool water, and try to place it back into the socket. If you can’t put the tooth back into your child’s mouth, place it in a glass of milk and go to an emergency dentist right away.
After the trip
When you arrive back home, schedule an appointment with your child’s regular dentist to ensure that everything is okay. This is especially important if your child chips or loses their tooth.
Dental emergencies are the worst. If you don’t want one to ruin your family vacation, do due diligence and heed these tips to prepare for any dental emergency that might come your way.