Dental Emergencies Abroad

young woman with a toothache

You’ve finally finished planning your trek through a new country. Plane tickets and accommodation? Booked. Activities and must-see sights? Booked. Even your travel insurance and list of restaurants to eat is in order, but what about a dentist? While it’s important to prepare for a variety of situations while traveling, you can’t predict dental emergencies. You can, however, have a plan if this worst case scenario happens to you.

Imagine this scenario. It wasn’t long ago that you were enjoying the feel of the Mediterranean sun on your skin and trekking through the streets of Spain. You were a week away from completing a three-month stint as an abroad when you bit into a nacho that knocked your temporary front tooth out. If you were back in Birmingham, Alabama, then you could simply call Dr. Maniscalco and come in for an emergency appointment where you knew your insurance would cover the procedure. As you sat down at the kitchen table with your tooth in hand, you realized you had no clue what to do. Which dentist should you go to? Will they be good? How expensive will it be? Will you be able to communicate with them about your case?

Now,  most people won’t be in this specific situation, but knowing what to do during a dental emergency, especially when you’re abroad is important.

Prevent a Dental Emergency

To prevent certain emergencies, take care of any underlying dental issues beforehand. Have your teeth checked, cleaned, and treated, to reduce your chances of being surprised while abroad. Additionally, you can put together an emergency kit, including any dental products you use along with a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory.

Use your common sense and avoid any hard foods, candies, ice, or popcorn kernels that could compromise your teeth. Your teeth are for eating, not tools so don’t use them to open packaging or cut materials.

Also, if you’re heading to a developing country, you might want to consider getting an immunization against Hepatitis B and other viruses since doctors there might not be vaccinated. These vaccinations typically need to be done in advanced. For example, the Hepatitis B shot has to be done six months ahead of time, so it’s important that you plan these details based on your destination.

Responding to a Dental Emergency Abroad

No matter how organized you are while traveling, emergencies can surprise you. It’s important that you do some research before your trip so that you can come up with ways to respond in case you do have a dental crisis.

Start by finding a local dentist. If you have family or friends in the area, then you can check out their providers. For other instances, research highly rated dentists that you’d feel comfortable visiting during an emergency. Check out your travel insurance and see if any of the locations will accept your coverage. Let’s take a look at some different scenarios so that you will know how to react during a dental emergency abroad effectively.

A Broken or Cracked Tooth

Maybe you slipped and hit your mouth or bit into something a little too hard for your teeth. Whatever the case may be, chipping or cracking a tooth is an occurrence more common than you may think. While a small chip isn’t necessarily an emergency, it’s likely not something you’ll want showing in your vacation photos. Larger chips could expose the tooth’s pulp and will be extremely painful. For both scenarios, you’ll need to seek out immediate care.

Before heading to the dentist, rinse your mouth out with water and apply a cold compress to address any swelling. Head to the dentist or a clinic for an emergency visit to take care of the situation.

A Knocked Out Tooth

In case you completely knock your tooth out or a crown, wash your hands and hold the tooth in place by the crown. If the root is dirty, then rinse it without touching the tissue fragments. You can also place it in a clean cloth or plastic bag. If possible, hold the tooth in the socket. Otherwise, put the tooth in a cup of milk and head to the dentist immediately. It’s important to be as quick as possible in this scenario since the likelihood of saving a tooth decreases after 30 minutes.

Dental Emergencies Abroad

Whether it’s at home or in a foreign country, a dental emergency can be a scary and often difficult experience, especially when traveling. With proper preventative measures and planning, you can prepare for these scenarios, so that you can respond accordingly. Call to schedule your appointment today with Dr. Maniscalco to address any current issues and reduce the risk of possible dental emergencies from happening on your trip abroad.

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