Dental emergencies on holiday

So the long-awaited end-of-year holiday is finally here. Your bags are packed and off you go. Excitement is at an all time high and then….ouch! you break a tooth, lose a crown or start to suffer painful tooth ache.

Murphy’s Law somehow often prevails over holiday season when it comes to the teeth. During holidays, I am faced with countless dental emergencies, from patching up a chipped tooth, re-cementing a crown, or dealing with an unexpected tooth ache.

To help you through the unexpected, here are some tips and advice on how to best avoid/manage a dental emergency while on holiday.

1.       If possible, have a check-up before you leave!

I strongly recommend you see your dentist before you leave for on holiday.  Ask your dentist if he/she has any referral information for you such as names of dentists in the city or venue you’re visiting, or an emergency contact number that he/she can be reached at. Sometimes a little peace of mind can be the saving grace in a dental emergency.

2.        Take some basic medication with you!

It is extremely rare to have a dental emergency that is life threatening, but the feeling of a throbbing toothache can be completely debilitating. If you’re travelling to a rural location it is pertinent that you take with a 7 day course of a broad spectrum antibiotic. Toothache can creep up on you in no time, and painkillers can sometimes do very little, so the antibiotics will be your saving grace. Having an antiseptic mouthwash on hand is also a good idea. Bye Mouth Ulcer gel is a great item for your first aid kit. The feeling of trying to eat with a mouth ulcer can ruin any meal. Also, take with standard pain killers and anti-inflammatory medication. 

3.       The lost crown and chipped tooth.

A crown that’s fallen out or a chipped tooth are among the most common dental emergencies.  If a crown falls out, never use household superglue to stick it back on. Glue is toxic and can harm your tissue. If the missing crown is not visible in your smile than rather wrap it in some tissue paper and put it in a safe place until you see a dentist. If the missing tooth is visible and you are desperate, try get to a local pharmacy and buy some Denture Fixative to secure the crown in the interim. In fact, this should be part of your first aid kit if you have a crown.

A chipped tooth or lost a filling can cause a nasty sharp edge that can cut into the cheek or tongue.  A quick application of some chewing gum to the sharp edge may provide some temporary relief. If possible, a regular nail file can be used to take the sharpness away, but be very careful when filing your tooth as you can easily cut into your gum and cheek and cause more harm.

Both of the above scenarios will require that you see a dentist as soon as possible. Make sure you keep your mouth clean by daily brushing and flossing to avoid any secondary decay from occurring while that crown or filling is out.  

For more info, see: and call 011 516 1700. 


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