Apr 24 2012
I’ve shattered bones and broken teeth, and while misery is difficult to quantify, I suspect that the broken teeth hurt more. I went long hours without treatment or pain medication when I broke my leg—then as now, medical care in the States was price-rationed, and I had to come up with the ready first—but bad as the pain was then, I kept my wits about me. When I split a molar in half, though, pain defined my world. Nothing else mattered. So, yes, broken teeth do hurt more than just about anything else.
Which is why backcountry travelers and touring cyclists should give a few minutes’ thought to their teeth when they make their plans and assemble their medical kits. Are you prepared to deal with a troublesome tooth when there’s no dentist nearby? If not, begin by reading “The Whole Tooth: Backcountry Dental Care.” Then put together your own dental first-aid kit and carry it along with you on all your trips.
Better yet, get a copy of Where There Is No Dentist—it’s available as a free PDF from Hesperian Health Guides, though I’m sure they’d appreciate a contribution—and study it carefully. Now find a place for it in your pack, or load the PDF on your e-book reader. The day may come when you’ll be very glad you did. And that’s the tooth!
- • “Beyond Band-Aids—Medical Handbooks for Paddlers” Useful reading for ALL trekkers!
- • “Bibliotrekking, or… How to Carry a Library in Your Pack”
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