When you're home, dental care, even in emergency situations is relatively easy to deal with. You know your family dentist well, hopefully in this case your dentist is Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry, and you can trust them to be honest about your dental health and effectively give you all the care you need. This can all change when you jump on a plane and fly far from your home. Suddenly every dentist is a stranger and a dental emergency can feel like a nightmare. While you'll never be completely comfortable with dental care while traveling, there are some measures you can take to make it easier. Here is what to do for your dental health before and during travel.
Arguably the most important element of dental care while traveling is properly planning before you go. There are different degrees of preparation depending on where you're going. A short trip to a friend or family's house requires only a little extra preparation. You just need to pack your dental care essentials (toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash), and we'll cover these travel items in more detail shortly.
Longer trips require a bit more attention before you go. If you have special needs for dental care, it is wise to scout potential dentists in the area you're going to and even ask for recommendations from your primary dentist. They may not have any particular recommendations, but it is certainly worth starting your search with an opinion you can trust. In addition, any substantial work (like temporary crowns and root canals) should be completed or scheduled before travel. The real challenge comes with travel outside the country, which we'll cover next.
Traveling outside the US requires more substantial preparation, and it is best to anticipate these needs well before you're set to leave the country. First and foremost, you should schedule a checkup with your dentist before you leave (even if it is before the six month checkup period). When you visit your dentist, make sure to inform them that you're headed outside the country for a period of time. They'll be able to take care of any special preparations in the comfort of their office before you leave.
Catching up on all your immunizations is important on the dental side as well, since infections can impact your dental health as well as your overall health. Make sure you get all recommended shots well before you leave the country.
Whether you're headed on a short trip or a long foray out of the country, you absolutely want to pack all the dental care essentials. If you don't, lax dental care can be pretty hard on your teeth, which isn't very "vacation like" if you're trying to relax. Travel-sized items are the norm on most trips, but take care in selecting them. Folding travel toothbrushes seem convenient, but many models come with inferior bristles, so skip the cheap stuff. Often, you're better off packing a regular brush or even your electric brush, but just make sure you put it in a case to protect it from germs during travel. Don't leave it in the case after use while you travel either. Bacteria grows much faster on a wet brush, and you'll want to leave it out to dry after each use.
As for mouthwash and toothpaste, there are several travel-sized options out there, but they might not match your chosen brand. If you're prescribed special toothpaste or mouthwash, make sure to bring it with you. Remember there is a max 3.4oz size requirement for any liquids or pastes you carry onto the plane. You can always transfer larger containers to smaller travel bottles (at the most 3.4oz) for shorter trips. As for floss, whatever your brand, it is easy to pack and there should be no concerns there.
Sometimes emergencies happen when you least expect it. A dental emergency in an unfamiliar country can seem like a nightmare, but there are options even in the worst of circumstances. First, refer to our emergency tips for any care before you can get to a dentist.
As for looking for a viable dentist in your area, Europe has comparable training and practices to that of the US, which makes it a bit less stressful to find a professional dentist. There are two services you can differ to during an emergency situation as well. Travel insurance agencies will be able to refer you to the closest approved dentist in your area when you call them. Often emergency services will be covered by your travel insurance plan to some degree. Regardless of what country you are in, the American consulate in the area is a good resource for emergency services. They'll be able to point you to the best dental care options in the area.
We sincerely hope your travels, wherever they may lead you, are smooth and enjoyable. Preparing in advance for the trip and packing the necessary care items is essential to making the trip as smooth as possible. Should an emergency arise, travel insurance agencies (if you buy coverage) and US Embassies are good resources for you to find the best dental care in your area. Finally, if you're in need of a checkup or care before you go, be sure to contact us and schedule an appointment today.