BY DR. MATTHEW WEEKES
A vacation is a highly anticipated event especially if it is one of the popular cruises. A lot of planning and time management is usually involved. At this time of year most of us wish to get away from the bitter cold and enjoy the tropical scenery of the Caribbean with its invigorating breeze, lovely beaches, fruit punch and so many niceties.
For some their expectation of a blissful time is spoiled by a sudden toothache or pain in the gums or cheeks. When a toothache occurs while on vacation in the air, sea or land the conditions for this sudden flare up exist. The tooth is like a simmering volcano that may erupt at any time if there is a pre-existing condition of disease.
To prevent distressing dental events, before you leave, I recommend that you have a dental checkup preferably at least two weeks before you leave or any time before you leave. If you know that there are problems based on your own visual examination, if the bite does not feel right or there is pain when you bite down or clench the teeth and occasional symptoms, seek dental advice. Very often a simple dental treatment, which does not involve extraction, may be all that is needed to prevent a painful experience.
Sometimes painful dental episodes may not be from the teeth but from infection of the gum. If you have not had your teeth cleaned for at least a year and your flossing is non-existent or irregular and if you notice your gums bleed and there are deposits adhering to the teeth, the chances are that you are a candidate for a painful episode. A thorough cleaning would significantly lessen the chance of pain if no other conditions exist.
There are some people that have reoccurring small red lesions on the gums and cheeks. They are usually very painful and of viral origin. Like canker sores they should go away within two weeks. Your dentist can prescribe medication to take care of the symptoms and restore comfort. It is a good idea to take a tube along with you. Some can also be used on denture sores.
Check out the condition of your dentures before you leave. Examine for cracks or severely worn down areas. Minor repairs can be done the same day.