Christmas is a great time to get out and enjoy some travel with the family (and, let’s be honest, without the extended family). With the kids off for an extended break, you can decide to hang around at home, maybe with a little trip to Manly beach, if you don’t mind the crowds. But it seems a better way to spend the time to enjoy a major destination.

Unfortunately, dental problems don’t take a vacation–they can find you anywhere. So how do you decide whether your problems need immediate attention or if they can wait until you get home to Sydney?

Here are a few common situations that come up on vacation and how to evaluate their seriousness.

Tooth Problems on Holiday

Chipped Tooth

There are many ways to chip a tooth on vacation. Maybe you tripped and fell. Maybe you were playing a pickup game of football with your kids using a coconut and found out they’re bigger tacklers than they used to be. Or perhaps you bit down on a bone in Phuket.

Most of the time, a chipped tooth is just a cosmetic problem. It can wait until you get back. However, if the tooth developed a vertical crack, especially one that descends past the gum line, that tooth needs attention. The tooth also needs attention if it’s suddenly become much more sensitive to temperature and pressure. That could mean that you’ve exposed a nerve, which can get infected.

Lost Filling or Crown

Fillings and crowns are very durable, but they’re not immortal. Unfortunately, they can give out at any time (though it seems that they give out on vacation more often than they should!)

But what do you do if one of these breaks or comes out?

First, make sure you don’t swallow the pieces. Some of them can be sharp. If a crown comes off in one piece, keep it–you might be able to put it back on temporarily.

Do you need to get it taken care of right away? Not necessarily. If your tooth doesn’t hurt and only has minor sensitivity to temperature and pressure, it can probably wait until you get back, assuming that’s in a week or so. But you’ll want to call us to let us know what happened. We’ll have a few questions and can let you know if your case demands immediate attention. We can also set up an appointment for soon after your return if that’s best.


Scuba diving off Fiji seems like a great way to spend your holiday, until you suddenly get one of the worst toothaches ever. And, actually, there are many situations on vacation where you might develop a spontaneous toothache. It may be nothing, but how do you know?

One of the easiest tests is just the level of pain. If the pain keeps you from falling asleep or wakes you up at night, it likely needs attention. It also needs attention if it’s accompanied by symptoms of an infection:

  • Localized warmth
  • Fever
  • Pimple-like sore on the gums
  • The tooth turns dark
  • Foul taste in the mouth or persistent bad breath

If that’s the case, then you have an infected tooth, and it needs immediate attention. Unless you have a fever, you don’t have to rush to the emergency room, but you don’t want to leave it for more than a day or two.

Otherwise, a toothache can wait until you get back.

Minimize Dental Mishaps on Holiday

Having a dental problem is one of the worst ways to ruin a holiday. It can not only disrupt your plans, it can be expensive. And if you get it fixed in country, you might have to get it fixed again when you return to Sydney.

But there are some things you can do reduce the odds of this happening to you. First, take care of your teeth with good oral hygiene and a tooth-healthy diet. Second, always follow instructions for the care and maintenance of your restorations. Finally, make your regular dental checkups about a month before your holiday so we can catch and fix any problems that might come up. It’s never guaranteed, but if you follow these tips, you’re much less likely to have a problem.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Baulkham Hills area to help keep your teeth healthy on holiday, please call (02) 9686 7375 today for an appointment at My Hills Dentist.