The Best Ways to Handle a Dental Emergency While Traveling
Dr. David Hudnall
Traveling can be an exciting time. Whether it’s a solo trip or a family vacation it’s a great time to explore somewhere new for the first time or revisit a favorite destination. However, one thing to be aware of while traveling is the chance of a dental emergency. A dental emergency is an issue that can sometimes be resolved with a call to your dentist but usually calls for immediate care from an emergency dentist.It’s probably unlikely that you’ll experience one, but dental emergencies are out of your control and can strike at any time. There’s no real way to know when or how they will happen and sometimes they will happen at inconvenient times. It’s no doubt stressful when this happens but as a dentist who’s been practicing emergency dentistry for 18 years, I’m here to help you know what to do if you experience an emergency while traveling.
Preparing for your trip
Before you hop in the car or get on a plane there a few things you can do prior to traveling to assure your mouth is in good health. One of the best ways to handle a dental emergency while traveling is trying to prevent one from happening all together. As mentioned, however, dental emergencies can be unexpected and it’s best to always be prepared.
1. Dental checkup
Whether you’re traveling solo or taking along the whole family, it’s best that everyone traveling gets a dental checkup. This way if there are any problems, they can be handled before you are in an unfamiliar place where you don’t immediately know where dental help is. If you do experience a dental emergency while away from home, you can visit emergencydentist247.com to find emergency dental care near you. They offer a 24-hour hotline and can get an appointment scheduled for you even if it’s in the middle of the night.
A dental checkup is also a good time for you to obtain recent dental records and copies of x-rays to take along with you. That way if you or someone you’re traveling with experiences a dental emergency; the emergency dentist can have a good idea of your overall oral health.
2. Have contact information
At your dental checkup, let your dentist know that you will be traveling and write down their contact information. If you are concerned about a dental issue, emergency or not, most issues can be resolved over the phone and your dentist can give you detailed instructions on how to care for your teeth. Having a dentist you’re familiar with only a phone call away is another way to create peace of mind and be prepared for your time traveling.
Is it a dental emergency?
While on a trip, the last thing you want to do is stress. With that being said, if something happens, it’s important to know if you’re dealing with a dental emergency.
As we mentioned, some issues can be resolved with a quick phone call to your dentist. They can give you instructions for care until you return home and can schedule a dental appointment. An example of a dental issue that may not need immediate care is a toothache. If you begin to feel pain, it’s best to clean your mouth by rinsing with warm water and floss around the painful area. After you come home, you can visit your dentist to make sure the toothache has healed.
Other dental emergencies need immediate care. These emergencies can include abscessed teeth or a lost or broken tooth. Luckily, there is a network of emergency dental clinics available to you. Find a dentist near where you are and visit them as soon as possible.
When you call to schedule an appointment, be sure to ask if the office accepts your dental insurance. If not, this is also a good time to discuss costs and payment options. Like mentioned earlier, you will want to bring any recent dental records with you to help the dentist understand your overall dental health. If you have any anxiety about being at the dentist, let the staff know when you get to your appointment so they can make any necessary accommodations to assure your comfort throughout your visit.
If a dental emergency is ignored it can only lead to more serious problems and put your health and safety at risk. If you need immediate care, don’t put it off until you get home. Schedule an emergency appointment right away.
Dental emergencies overseas
If you plan to travel to another country, handling a dental emergency may be more difficult but many parts of the world offer great dental care. If an emergency happens while you are overseas and you need immediate care, there are many places to turn to find a dentist.
Having travel insurance will help you a great deal in the case of a dental emergency. If you have travel insurance, use the company’s 24-hour hotline that’s available to you. They can refer you to a qualified dental professional and can even help translate if needed. Like the United States, many countries have dental associations as well which can help you to find dental care. If you’re struggling to find an emergency dentist, try talking to your hotel’s concierge service as many employees are local to the area. You can also contact the American Embassy if you need help finding a dental referral.
As a dentist who specializes in emergency dental care, I want you to be prepared for a dental emergency to happen anytime and anywhere, especially when you’re traveling. Visiting your primary dentist before leaving home is a great way to prevent a dental emergency from happening altogether. With that being said, dental emergencies are beyond our control and can happen at any time.
Going on a trip is usually fun and relaxing, especially when it’s with family or friends. We want you to enjoy these times stress-free. However, while it’s never convenient to deal with situations like this away from home, being prepared and knowing how to handle them is important.