You might be able to mentally block out some of the pain from a turned ankle or banged-up arm when you’re hurting and in the middle of nowhere. But it’s really hard to ignore pain when it’s right there inside your head, namely in the form of dental issues. A cracked tooth, a lost filling, or a bad toothache can make crybabies of the most hardened outdoorsmen. If you haunt the backwoods and wild places enough, it’s only a matter of time before your teeth turn against you. Thankfully, a little bit of dental gear can go a long way to relieve pain and prevent further harm. The following items can be added as a dental module to your first aid kit, and will allow you to hold your own until you get to a dentist.
1. Pain Relievers
These are the crown jewels of any dental kit. An easy choice is an analgesic/anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen, which can help your aching teeth and be used to relieve other pain. It’s also helpful to have something that dulls the pain at its source, like oil of cloves or a eugenol extract. A drop of either of these can offer a lot of comfort. They can even be applied to a pellet of cotton and inserted into a cavity for a longer pain relieving effect. A gel of benzocaine 20% (i.e. Orajel) is also an option for pain relief.
2. Temporary Filling Material
Dental wax or some other temporary filling material is a godsend if you lose a filling, especially a large one. These materials can also reattach a crown. They stick fairly well in holes in your teeth, and relieve the sensitivity caused by air hitting the tooth pulp. If your filling product comes with a tool, add this to your dental kit. Use only these products for emergency fillings. Pine pitch, tar, or anything besides medicated cotton stuffed into your tooth might be difficult or impossible for a dentist to remove later.
3. Floss and Toothpicks
The floss is good for its intended use, and it can also be tied around a cracked or shattered tooth to hold it together. Toothpicks are handy for tooth cleaning and applying temporary filling material.
Nitrile Gloves: You really don’t want to rummage around in your buddy’s mouth with bare hands, and he most likely won’t care for it either. Use a Nitrile or even plastic gloves, in case your patient has a latex allergy.
Cotton: Include at least five cotton pellets and five cotton rolls in your kit. They help with bleeding, medicine application, and drool control—plus they make a fine emergency fire starter. Curved tweezers are a great help when packing medicated cotton pellets into cavities.
Have you ever been hell and gone from a dentist, and had your teeth start giving you trouble? Let us hear your story in the comments.