It can be scary going through a dental emergency while travelling – especially if it’s somewhere you’ve never been before and have no idea where you can go to seek help. It’s easy to prepare for a trip that you’ve been planning for some time, but it can be impossible to foresee a dental emergency happening while you’re away.
One of the best ways to avoid going through a dental emergency before you go on a trip is to see your dentist before you go. However, this will not eliminate the threat of an oral health emergency from occurring. It will only make sure that preexisting oral health problems are dealt with at the time.
How to help yourself in the moment
Certain dental emergencies, such as a lost tooth or a toothache, can be blindingly painful and cause you to panic. One of the best ways to get through a dental emergency until you can get to a dentist is knowing what you need to do in order to help yourself.
For example, if you develop a toothache while you fly, don’t panic. Getting a toothache on a flight if you have a space in a filling, cavity, or a cracked tooth is normal because of the imbalances in the air pressure. However, if this pain is persistent, find a dentist as soon as you land.
If you’re in any amount of oral pain during a dental emergency, try the following:
- Use ice or a cold compress to reduce any swelling
- Take a painkiller but do not place it against your teeth or gums
- Try to floss gently around a toothache to clear out any debris
- Rinse your mouth out a couple of times with warm water to remove bacteria, germs, and debris – especially if blood is present
You should also make sure you pack ibuprofen or acetaminophen, toothpaste, a toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash and double check that you have done so before you leave.
Purchase travel insurance
Financing your dental procedure can be difficult in another country. At home you had a dental plan or at least a financer like United Medical Credit to take care of upfront procedure costs. Doing that in a different country with a different currency? Different story.
Purchasing travel insurance that has dental coverage included in the plan is never a bad idea – you may need it when you least expect it. Emergency dental services is something that must be included in your plan, so keep that in mind and read the fine print!
You may even be able to get some resources for knowing where the local dentists are located in the country you’re visiting before you go, as well.
Ask your hotel for a recommendation
If you’re unsure about where to go for emergency oral health help, check with someone who works at where you’re staying. The locals will most likely where you can find a reputable dentist who can help you as quickly as possible, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Get in touch with your country’s embassy
If your country has an embassy in the country you’re travelling in, give them a call and see whether they can help you. It may be a long shot, but it’s definitely worth a try in an emergency.
Finding a dentist with a directory
Not all countries have them, but if you are travelling in the United States and can’t find an emergency dentist to help you, there are emergency dentist referral networks and directories that can help you almost immediately.
Emergency Dentists USA is a great example of an emergency dentist referral directory that can help you if you are travelling in the US, have a dental emergency, and are unable to find an emergency dentist on your own.
In addition, you can also check out the American Dental Society of Europe, considering the majority of European countries have dental care standards found in the US, which may help you.