Dental Emergencies While on Vacation
Vacations are supposed to be about having fun and relaxing. No one wants to think about having a dental emergency when they’re at the beach or skiing, but what do you do if it does happen? And what constitutes a dental emergency, versus something that might be annoying but can wait until you return home?
The staff here at our Cerritos office has compiled this handy list of questions and answers to help you sort it all out.
What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?
Not every dental problem that develops on your vacation is an emergency. In general, if you have severe pain, bleeding that won’t stop, or need treatment to try and save one of your teeth, it’s a dental emergency. Most other things (minor chips in your teeth, for example) can wait until you return home and can see your provider at the Cerritos office.
A minor toothache isn’t an emergency, but a major toothache is. Sudden, unexplained swelling in your mouth or face around your mouth is a dental emergency; this could be a sign of an abscess or other infection. These infections can be life-threatening and should be treated immediately.
Losing a tooth or unexplained bleeding from the mouth that won’t stop is also a dental emergency. The latter can be a sign of infection or other serious problem and the bleeding needs to be stopped.
Breaking a wire on metal or ceramic braces is a dental emergency. It might not sound like it is, but the broken wire can scratch or cut the inside of your mouth and needs to be reattached to prevent this and other damage.
An exposed nerve in your mouth is a dental emergency and can lead to more nerve damage, infections, and severe pain if not treated right away. A cracked tooth is a dental emergency if it’s painful and/or it leaves sharp fragments inside your mouth. Otherwise, it can wait until you get home.
If you’re in doubt, call our office and speak to the staff. They can provide you with further guidance. If it’s not a dental emergency, they can also schedule you an appointment to be seen immediately after you return from your vacation.
How Do I Deal with a Dental Emergency on Vacation?
You need to be seen right away, preferably by a dentist. Many dentists have same-day appointments for emergencies, so try calling a local dentist first. Major cities often have emergency dentist offices open evenings and weekends that can see you after hours.
If you need treatment and can’t get into a dentist, go to the nearest emergency room or urgent care center.
What Do I Do if I Lose a Tooth and Is It a Dental Emergency?
A lost tooth is always a dental emergency! Sometimes a lost tooth can be saved if you can get to a healthcare provider in time. A dentist might be able to reinsert and save the tooth if it’s intact.
Rinse the tooth off, without removing any pulp or other tissue, and immediately head to a dental office to get seen. Transport the tooth either in a cup of milk or in your mouth. If you can’t find a dentist to see you, go to the local emergency room.
What Should I Do if I Lose a Dental Appliance?
Losing crowns, bridges, and other dental appliances while you’re on vacation is a huge hassle, but not necessarily an emergency. Sometimes you can temporarily put these back in their place with standard denture adhesive. If so, you can often wait until you return and call the Cerritos office to get it re-adhered permanently. If not, you need to try and get seen by a local provider who can reattach the appliance.
The longer a dental appliance is out of place, the more chance you have of damaging the tooth or teeth it protects. Be careful not to chew with the uncovered tooth and avoid eating crunchy or other hard-to-chew foods until you can get seen.
What Should I Do to Prepare for a Dental Emergency While I’m on Vacation?
The first thing you should do is follow your normal oral hygiene routine. This will reduce the chances of an emergency occurring in the first place. Take over-the-counter pain medications and denture adhesive with you to treat any problems that do arise. You can also look up the name of a local dentist that treats emergencies in advance, so you know who to call if there is a problem.
Will My Dental Insurance Cover a Dental Emergency That Happens While I’m on Vacation?
This depends on your insurance policy. Many dental insurance policies do cover dental emergencies, while others do not. Some will pay the emergency provider directly, while other insurance policies require you to pay out of pocket and submit a claim for reimbursement.
If you look up a potential emergency provider in advance, try to find one that is in-network with your insurance company so you’re more likely to be covered. If you end up at the emergency room, the care may fall under your health insurance instead of your dental insurance. Contact your insurance company for more details about your plan.
How Much Does It Cost to Treat a Dental Emergency?
This depends on the nature of the dental emergency, your dental insurance, and where you are on vacation. A minor emergency may only cost a couple of hundred dollars, while a major issue can run thousands of dollars.
Your out-of-pocket cost will vary depending on your insurance and if the provider who treats you is in-network or out-of-network. Costs also vary dramatically based on location. The latter is especially true if you’re traveling internationally.
Are You Ready to Improve Your Smile?
Come see Dentist of Cerritos today! We have an experienced and professional staff that can handle all your dental needs right here in Cerritos. We accept a wide range of insurance plans and offer flexible appointment times to help fit into your schedule. We also offer financing options to help you get the smile of your dreams.
Call (562) 414-5064 today to make an appointment for a consultation at Dentist of Cerritos and find out if a tooth extraction is right for you!