Broken tooth on vacation?

What happens when you break a tooth on vacation? Dr. Samantha Rawdin is on-the-job providing tips on how to manage this dental emergency:

You’ve been planning for months. Flights are booked. Bags are packed. You finally arrive at your destination… and then your tooth breaks.

What’s a vacationer to do?! Well, it’ll depend on a few things…

If you’re in pain…

…you should seek help right away. If you’re in a hotel, ask the concierge. Usually they can direct you to a dentist near by. If you’re not in a hotel, but still in the U.S., you can go to the American Dental Association website ( and utilize their “Find-a- Dentist” tool. It has some advanced search options to help you narrow down your results. If you’re out of the country, things can be a bit trickier. Depending on where you are in the world, dental care can be very good or not so good.

If you can get to a pharmacy…

…try to find a product that helps with toothaches—they’re usually found in the dental aisle. They come in gums, gels and pastes and can be applied to the sensitive area. Be sure to follow the instructions, as they can vary slightly among brands.

Can’t get to a pharmacy?

A piece of (sugarless!) chewing gum can help protect a sensitive area from irritants. You can also try putting desensitizing toothpaste, such as Sensodyne, directly on the area and then covering it with gum. If you can find it, a drop of clove oil on a cotton swab can have a palliative effect.

If you have a cap/crown/temporary/veneer that came off…

…you have a few options. Pharmacies typically have some sort of temporary cement for at-home use. Again, be sure to follow the instructions. Before using, try to clean the inside of the restoration as best as you can to remove excess cement or debris. Then, try it in a few times so you know which way it goes. Mix up the cement, place only enough inside the restoration to coat the surface in a thin layer and seat the restoration. Bite down gently, but be sure to bite down all the way. Clean up any excess with a cotton swab or toothpick before it hardens. If you can’t find temporary cement, denture adhesive will work as well. Just be aware that you’ll need to replace it a few times per day. If you’re not in pain and the temporary isn’t staying in well, take it out before you go to sleep so you don’t swallow it.

And whatever you do, don’t use Krazy Glue! Still confused? Call or e-mail us. Even if we’re not close by, we can probably at least help point you in the right direction. And, of course, be sure to come see us as soon as you get home!

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