Traveling can be an incredible experience, but what do you do if you have a dental emergency while you are out of the country or far from home? The first question to answer is what counts as an emergency? Then we will also talk about how to find a dentist overseas.
Planning for your trip is important if you want it to go smoothly and as stress-free as possible. The problem is you can’t plan for a toothache or a broken tooth. Toothaches are actually common when flying, this is because of the difference in pressure. This is caused by air entering through cracks in your teeth or by a cavity. It then will expand because of the pressure. When you land it may go away, and this probably will mean you can make it until you get home. If it doesn’t go away after you land try rinsing your mouth out and flossing to remove anything that might be in-between your teeth. You could also take some painkiller, but if it doesn’t go away, then you may need to go visit a dentist.
If you have a tooth that cracks or breaks, you need to go to a dentist or emergency room immediately. Rince your mouth out and also put a cold compress on it which can help with swelling. Broken teeth count as a dental emergency.
If somehow a tooth is knocked out, you should follow these steps immediately if you want to save the tooth.
- Only hold the tooth by the crown. Don’t touch the root.
- If the root is dirty, you should rinse it, but do not let it touch fabric or tissues.
- If possible, hold the tooth in the socket, but if you can’t, transport the tooth in a cup of milk. You should visit the dentist as quickly as possible. It becomes less likely that the tooth will be able to be saved once it is past 30 minutes.
Finding a Dentist in another country
If you are going out of the country, you should purchase travel insurance. This is insurance that will cover you in the event of medical or health emergencies. Your normal insurance usually will not work outside of the country. If you do have travel insurance and are in need of a dentist, call your provider, they should be able to help you find a dentist that will be covered. If you do not have insurance, talk to your hotel concierge, or embassy to help you find a dentist that will be able to help in the event of an emergency.
How to prepare for the trip
If you are going on a trip it is a good idea to take a few precautions.
- Go in for a checkup before you leave, this will usually catch any issue that could pop up while you are gone. Also, have your cleaning done! This will help make sure that your teeth are in the tip-top condition and reduce the chances that you will have a dental emergency. If you do know that you need some procedure, you should have it performed well before you leave the country.
- Purchase dental travel insurance. It can be expensive and complicated to use a dentist overseas. Dental insurance will handle the process and make it much more simple.
- While you are traveling keep taking good care of your teeth. Don’t forget to brush and floss regularly. Also be careful with what you eat, and don’t chew anything that is hard or gummy. These increase the chances of something happening to your teeth.
Dental emergencies while outside of the country can be tough, but with good dental care, you probably will never have to worry about it. Ask your local dentist if you have any questions about what to do with your teeth if you are traveling overseas.