June 24, 2020
You’ve been working hard all year and it is all beginning to pay off. Traveling is something you always look forward to. You’re keeping busy and enjoying yourself when suddenly, you break your tooth! You’re nowhere close to your regular dentist. Should you endure the pain until you get home or go to the emergency room? It’s difficult to know the best action to take. Your emergency dentist can give you a few tips on the best way to deal with a dental emergency while you’re traveling.
What Should Be My First Response if I have a Dental Emergency?
Depending on the issue that you are facing, there are things you should know before you head to the dentist. Here are a few:
- Toothache: Preexisting toothaches may become worse when you are flying because of the changes in air pressure, but it should subside when you land. If it does not, rinse your mouth and floss to dislodge anything that could be stuck. Take an over-the-counter painkiller. If the pain is still lingering or worsening, look into seeing an emergency dentist.
- Broken Tooth: If your tooth is cracked or broken, you should rinse your mouth and apply a cold compress to help with swelling. You should see an emergency dentist as soon as possible.
- Dislodged Tooth: If your tooth has been knocked out completely, you will need to act quickly and carefully in order to save it. Pick up the tooth by the crown. Touching the root can cause additional tissue damage. If your tooth is dirty, carefully rinse the root. Gently place the tooth back into the socket in your mouth. If you’re unable to return the tooth to its original spot, place it in a cup of milk. This must be done immediately, or you risk permanently losing the tooth.
How Do I Find an Emergency Dentist Abroad?
When you’re in a place that you are unfamiliar with, choosing an emergency dentist can be stressful. Fortunately, you have options. If you’ve purchased travel insurance, the first thing you should do is call your provider and ask for a referral to a nearby emergency dentist who will accept your coverage. You could also ask your hotel concierge, call your American Embassy, or research the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers for recommendations.
Most European countries and Canada hold similar high dental standards as the United States so if you are traveling in these regions, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a dentist who can treat you properly.
How Do I Stay Prepared While Traveling?
- Visit your dentist before your trip. If you have a history of gum disease or frequent cavities, go in for a cleaning. Your dentist can look for signs of problems before you find yourself having an emergency.
- Purchase dental insurance. You probably have dental insurance at home, but it may not cover you overseas or in another country. Adding a temporary, international dental plan is a good precaution to take to ensure that you are protected while you’re traveling.
- Pack your bags accordingly. It is wise to carry everything you need to practice good oral hygiene while you’re away from your dental provider. Don’t forget to bring toiletries like toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. Traveling with over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen is also beneficial, especially if you’ve been struggling with pain or discomfort.
- Be extra careful when eating! Chewing on hard foods and candies can put you at risk for a dental emergency. If you have tooth sensitivity, avoid acidic beverages like coffee, tea, and energy drinks. This can aggravate the problem even further.
Dental emergencies are scary in any situation, especially when you are abroad. Follow these tips to prevent and deal with emergencies while you’re traveling. By doing this, you can continue the rest of your trip disaster-free.
About the Author
Dr. C.J. Landry is an emergency dentist located in Marrero, LA. He has over 30 years of experience in the dental field and opened his own private practice, Lapalco Family Dental, immediately after graduating from dental school in 1982. He believes in providing old fashioned customer service while staying up-to-date on modern dental technology. Dr. Landry provides emergency treatment and can be contacted at all times, including after hours and on the weekend. For more information, visit his website or call (504) 348-0080.
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