Utah is one of the favorite playgroundsof outdoor and recreation enthusiasts in the United States. From mountain biking along the Silver Lake trail to hiking up the Timpanogos Cave National Monument, you’ll never run out of activities to try and sights to explore. If you’re an expert, most probably you have the supplies needed to treat common injuries associated with outdoor activities. But what happens if you have a dental emergency on your way up or down the hiking trail?
A dental emergency is a nightmare for any traveler, especially if you’re far from home. You don’t want to extract your wisdom teeth in a camping ground or in the wilderness of Utah. Remember that scene in “Castaway” where Tom Hanks pulled out his own tooth using a rock? Not a pleasant experience.
It is best to know the different types of dental emergencies that can be expected and what you need to do to prevent them.
Types of Dental Emergencies
1. Dislodged Tooth
If you accidentally fall down while mountain biking or snowboarding, there’s a possibility that you can knock out a tooth or two. Use a wet cloth or tissue to stop the gap in your mouth from bleeding. If you can locate and salvage the tooth, hold it by the crown and don’t touch the root. Carefully rinse it with water before putting back into the socket. Whether the tooth is restored or not, the patient still needs to immediately seek help from a dentist even if it means having to cut your trip short.
2. Broken or Loosened Tooth
If you have a broken tooth, find the broken piece, and carefully put it into a water bottle or wrap it with a wet tissue so that it can still be restored. If the broken piece cannot be located, a specialized dentist can help repair the broken tooth.
You can experience a throbbing toothache for several reasons. Even a change in altitude can trigger a toothache. You can take a pain reliever, or you can rinse your mouth with salt or warm water to temporarily alleviate the pain. To remove teeth or other debris between the teeth, don’t forget to floss. If there’s an infection and the pain worsens, you need to hike back down and see a dentist to curb the pain.
4. Sensitive Teeth
If you have a history of periodontal disease and tooth decay, or you excessively consume an acidic beverage, your tooth enamel might have worn down, or your gums have receded. Such conditions can make you sensitive to hot and cold sensations.
In any case, you need to consult your dentist so that he/she can recommend fixes for sensitive teeth before your trip. Your dentist might recommend you to use a mouth guard if you frequently clench or grind your teeth or a special toothpaste for sensitive teeth. To strengthen your enamel, your dentist might give you fluoride treatment. In case of deep decay, your dentist might recommend a root canal treatment, filling, or other procedures.
Prevention is Better than Cure
Accidents are inevitable if you’re an outdoor enthusiast. You can sprain your ankles and wrists, get cuts and abrasions, suffer from head injuries, or drown. Since these injuries are common, most survival outdoor kits include items that can temporarily heal them. But more experienced adventurers know that having a dental emergency kit is as important.
Some of the common items found in an outdoor dental kit are the following:
1. Toothache or numbing drops
Rub it directly on the sore area or use a cotton ball.
2. Pain reliever.
Swallow it and don’t put it directly on the tooth or your gums.
Gargle salt diluted in water and then gently floss around the sore area.
4. Aluminum foil (for loose tooth)
5. Gloves, floss, gauze or cotton, tweezers, and disinfecting wipes
If you had cosmetic dental procedures, you could bring the following:
6. Temporary cavity filling material
If you lose a filling, you can purchase a temporary one over the counter to prevent discomfort during your trip.
7. Temporary dental cement for crowns
You might need some temporary cement, especially if you’ve worn the crown for a long time.
8. Denture repair materials
Pack some denture repair materials in case your dentures get broken.
If you can’t be bothered to bring more items other than the basic survival kit that you have, make sure you to set an appointment with your dentist especially if you have a history of tooth decay and gum disease or you underwent a cosmetic procedure that needed regular checks.