The following tips are only temporary emergency measures for when you are away from home, and are not treatment suggestions. Pack these basics for your trip: aspirin or a substitute, gauze, cotton, floss and paraffin. If a dental problem arises, call your own dentist for advice or a referral, call a local or state dental society, or ask a hospital emergency room to recommend a dentist. If you’re out of the country, contact the U.S. Embassy or consulate, or ask hotel personnel to refer you to a dentist.

Dental emergencies can happen anywhere and at any time. Being prepared can make the difference between handling a dental problem and resuming your fun, or having plans ruined. You should go to a dentist’s office or an emergency room if needed. But here are some tips on managing possible dental problems until you can get treatment.

Rinse your mouth well with warm water and gently floss between the teeth to remove any trapped food. Use a cold compress on the outside of the cheek if there is swelling and take a pain reliever. Never place an aspirin directly on the tooth or gum.

Broken tooth
Rinse with warm water, apply cold compresses to the cheek and get to a dentist as soon as possible.

Knocked-out tooth
Rinse the tooth lightly in running water but don’t scrub it, and touch it as little as possible. Put the tooth back in the socket and hold it firmly in place. If you can’t re-insert the tooth, keep it in a glass or container of milk or a special tooth preserving solution available at your local drug store. Get to a dentist within 30 minutes, if possible, to improve the chances of the tooth being saved.

Objects wedged between teeth
Gently remove the object with floss and avoid cutting the gums. Do not use a sharp instrument.

Lost filling
Cover the cavity with paraffin, and take aspirin as needed.

Bitten tongue or lip
Put direct pressure on the bleeding area with a clean cloth and apply a cold compress to minimize swelling. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to a nearby hospital.

Possible fractured jaw
Immobilize the jaw by any means, such as a handkerchief, necktie or towel tied around the head, and go to a hospital emergency room as quickly as possible.