Are you planning a vacation outside the U.S.? Don’t have your vacation ruined by a toothache. Prior to traveling abroad a thorough dental examination is important especially if traveling to developing countries or remote areas without access to safe dental care.
Emergency dental care abroad may be hard to find, uncomfortable, expensive, or even dangerous. Most of us take for granted the high U.S. standards for infection control and safety. We seldom think about the fact that sterile instruments, gloves, disposable needles and safe water are not always routine in parts of the world. Dentists practicing in the U.S. are held to high standards of care and must follow infection control guidelines for disease prevention. The standards for educating and licensing dental professionals also vary in foreign countries. In the U.S., dentists have been educated in accredited schools and have taken national and state boards prior to receiving a license to practice.
Before you travel…
Schedule an appointment with your dentist giving adequate time to complete any necessary dental treatment. Pressure changes especially during air travel can cause pain in an untreated tooth.
- Have decayed or cracked teeth treated
- Congested with sinus problems? It may be from or affecting your teeth
- Schedule a cleaning, especially if you have any type of periodontal (gum) disease or bad breath
- Sensitive teeth should be checked before you travel
- Complete all root canal treatments
Seeking safe emergency dental care while you’re traveling…
Along with your passport, carry travel information including names and phone numbers of organizations to contact in case of a dental or medical emergency. Some good sources to contact in an emergency are:
- A local hotel concierge.
- Americans living in the area or American military personnel.
- The International Assoc. For Medical Assistance To Travelers — a network of doctors and medical institutions around the world – (www.iamat.org) (716) 754-4883.
- American Consulate or American Embassy in the country you are visiting.
- In Europe – American Dental Society of Europe (ADSE) (www.adse.co.uk) Phone: 011 44 141 331 0088.
To obtain A Traveler’s Guide To Safe Dental Care visit The Organization For Safety and Asepsis Procedures (www.osap.org)
Don’t let a dental emergency dampen your vacation. Be sure to have your teeth in great shape prior to leaving home.