Should I Get a Dental Checkup Before Travelling?
Travelling is meant to be fun, relaxing and an adventure, but in order to make the most out of your trip you’ll want to make sure that you’ve done everything you can to prepare properly. This might mean booking the necessary time off work and making sure your sorted in the office before you leave. You might also need to drop your pets off at a family members house and clear your fridge of perishable items. Then of course you’ll want to make sure you’ve accounted for everything you might need on your trip – climate appropriate clothing, adventure ready shoes, swim gear, sunscreen, medications, toiletries, cellphone charger, batteries and more. It’s likely going to be a lengthy list because you don’t want to forget anything important. It may seem like a lot to deal with but don’t get stressed out. Planning can be part of the fun if you leave yourself enough time and aren’t in a crazy rush to finish packing as the Uber is waiting in your driveway. As dentists, there’s one thing we’d like you to add to your pre-travel to-do list and that is booking a dental checkup.
Take care of your teeth before you leave
Dental problems can happen at anytime and finding dental care in a foreign country can be anything but simple, so your best bet is to avoid problems if you can by letting your dentist take a look first. Dental care abroad can be crazy expensive and it’s often difficult to locate a trustworthy dental clinic, especially in rural areas or remote countries. There’s also always a small risk of contamination and disease transmission in dental surgeries, the likelihood of which can be elevated in certain countries. Even if your issue is something minor like a toothache, it can still leave you in pain and ruin your trip or force you to spend time getting it taken care of instead of having fun.
Is travel dental coverage needed?
We recommend opting for maximum dental and health care coverage on every trip and having your dentist to look at your mouth and teeth prior to taking off (pun intended). Travel insurance might cover some dental work, but many procedures likely won’t be free, and the cost could rise quickly. Hopefully you’ll be able to wait until you’re back home with your dentist, but if not then you’ll need to pay out of pocket if you don’t have the necessary insurance.
What if I have major dental issues?
It is not recommended to travel if you know you have dental issues. If the problem might require professional dental help, then you should have it cleared up before travelling. It’s not worth running the risk of being stuck in a foreign country without proper care. Same thing applies to recent dental work that hasn’t healed fully. Oral surgery can make you more susceptible to infection and travelling might not be the best thing in terms of oral hygiene. Even relatively simple procedures like cavities or fillings can be problematic, especially when flying as the ascent and descent phases can be quite painful. Best thing is to be fully recovered before leaving home and heading out abroad.
Common dental concerns when travelling
Dental problems can happen at anytime and some are more common than others. Travellers can keep an eye on any issues (like a toothache), and monitor their pain before seeking professional help. Trauma induced issues like lacerations or a knocked out tooth will probably require immediate care. Damaged dentures would need to be repaired otherwise your enjoyment could be adversely affected.
- Cavity or lost filling
- Chipped or broken tooth
- Knocked out tooth
- Oral lacerations, bleeding or infections
- Damaged dentures or appliances
What if I have a dental emergency while travelling?
If something does happen, try to stay calm and don’t panic. You’re not the first person to need dental care away from home and you will be able to find help. A good first step is to reach out to someone local for assistance, typically a tour guide, hotel concierge or of course a friend/family member. Someone local will know what to do and where a dentist can be found. Minor issues like tooth pain may be able to be remedied by taking an over-the-counter painkiller but more serious problems might require a dentist. For a dental emergency it may take too long to find a dentist, or a clinic might not be open to help, in which case you’ll need to go to a hospital emergency room. No matter what happened, it’s always a good idea to ask someone you trust for help. They can help reassure and assist you in finding the care you need.
Other tips to avoid dental issues
Don’t skip your oral hygiene routine just because you’re on vacation. It’s easy to get caught up in the adventure and forget to brush, floss and rinse your teeth as normal, but your teeth shouldn’t be neglected. Remember, in many countries the tap water isn’t meant to be ingested, so only use bottled water to rinse your mouth and your toothbrush. Don’t let a dental problem interfere with your trip by getting a dental checkup before travelling and maintaining a proper hygiene routine abroad.
At Martindale Dental we understand the need for emergency dental care for travellers. All of your clinic locations accept walk-in patients and area able to offer short notice appointments, often even afterhours. If you’re travelling in Ontario and need dental care, our offices may be able to help resolve your issue as fast as possible.