If you travel often, you likely have a plan in place for many unforeseen situations. Have you thought about dental care abroad? If not, you are going to want to have a plan and be prepared. The last thing you want is to have an issue with your teeth or mouth and be scrambling for a solution. Depending on where you’re traveling, getting the help you need might be more difficult than you think, so it’s better to be prepared.
A general toothache may not be an emergency, but what happens when you do have an emergency and need to see a dentist right away? The following are some helpful tips for dealing with dental emergencies while traveling.
Find a Local Dentist
If you are traveling to one specific destination, prior to leaving you should make a point of locating a dentist in the area that you can contact should you need to see them? You can find them online if needed but note down their phone number and address for easy recall if you end up needing some assistance.
Your existing dentist may be of some help here, otherwise, you can use the internet to your advantage to scope out the local providers in the area you will be staying and make note of their information. Also, be sure they accept new patients prior to leaving so you aren’t scrambling last minute.
If you use travel insurance, you can call your provider to get a referral to a dentist that accepts your coverage. Sometimes, hotels can direct you in the right direction too, but the best option here is to be prepared before you head off on your travels.
Note, it’s easier to find a dentist in your own country (duh!), because dental care isn’t so easy to come by in some more remote places. All the more reason to be prepared!
Toothaches are more common and can often be dealt with without a dental visit. Flying can also cause some pain to some due to the imbalance of air pressure. Luckily, toothaches caused by flying typically subside once you land. You might take an OTC pain killer to prevent this pain if you have experienced it in the past while flying. If it persists after you land, contact the dentist whose information you saved before leaving.
Should a situation occur that results in losing a tooth while traveling, follow these steps and contact the dentist? Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse the roof until it is dirty, however, try not to tough the tissue fragments. You can store the tooth in a soft cloth or tissue in the meantime. If that’s not possible, simply hold the tooth in the socket and go visit your pre-planned dentist right away. Taking action right after is the best way to save your tooth; otherwise, you will need a replacement.
Cracked or Broken Tooth
Cracking or breaking a tooth is unfortunate, even when you are not traveling. But it does happen sometimes. This situation requires immediate dental attention. Rinse your mouth out and use a cold compress on the exterior of your cheek to keep swelling to a minimum. Contact the dentist or even visit the emergency room if necessary. Delaying action will likely result in serious pain.
Getting dental work done overseas
Another reason you might be getting dental work while traveling is to save money. Now, this doesn’t really fall under the umbrella of a dental emergency, but it’s a valid reason to visit a dentist abroad nonetheless. For example, common dental procedures like dental implants or even dental veneers are often cheaper outside of North America, which has many vacationers partaking in what’s being called “dental tourism”. If this sounds like a good idea to you, then research is your best friend, so you end up seeing a reputable dentist for your treatment. We recommend word of mouth as the go-to referral system, but if that isn’t available then the internet is a good place to find your dentist. Make sure you check reviews, look at photos, and above all, call the clinic to make sure you have an appointment. That way you’ll also be able to get somewhat of a feel for what you can expect. A good question to ask is if that dentist has treated international patients before and if they are comfortable doing it.
One thing to note is that many insurance providers (travel insurance included) won’t cover voluntary dental work of any kind while abroad, but that doesn’t mean the cost savings might not outweigh having to pay out of your own pocket for the service. It’s worth checking out regardless.
Before You Travel
We asked our expert St. Catharines dentist what to do before heading out on vacation and this is what they told us.
Prior to leaving, we recommend that you make a dental appointment. Having a general checkup is always best so you can avoid any surprises once you’re out of town. If there are any serious concerns, your dentist can let you know and you can take care of them prior to leaving. If you know you need a serious procedure, such as a root canal, it’s advised you get this done before traveling.
The majority of insurance policies do not provide coverage overseas. If you don’t plan on leaving the country, you should have no problem finding a provider in the area you plan to visit. Otherwise, you might need to look into additional temporary dental coverage to ensure you’re protected while traveling. Dental insurance is usually included or available through organizations like CAA or Blue Cross when you book travel insurance for your trip.
Keep taking care of your oral health while you’re traveling, like you would if you were at home. Brush regularly, floss daily, keep some OTC pain medication on your person for emergencies and travel mouthwash can be very helpful as well.
Nobody wants to have a dental emergency, whether they are traveling or not, but it’s not hard to be prepared before you leave town so should an emergency arise, you know what to do.