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Going to a Dentist in a Strange Land: Dental Emergencies for Tourists

There’s always so much to do before you take a trip. Pack your suitcase, get any shots you need, travel insurance, medical insurance. The list goes on. Most people ensure that they have good medical insurance if they fall ill or have an accident when they’re on vacation, but how many of us think about having to visit a dentist while we’re traveling?

A dental emergency is always unwelcome, but this is even truer when we’re in a different country where we don’t have access to our usual dentist or even know the language.

We’ve put together some tips on dealing with dental emergencies when you’re a tourist.

Fix any dental issue before you travel

Of course, things happen that you can’t anticipate, such as a sudden loss of a filling or bridge, an infection, or an accident that leads to a broken tooth. If you are worried about anything, get it looked at before you travel. Head to your usual dentist or somewhere like Rod W. Gore DDS, who can perform any preventative treatment before it becomes an emergency that spoils your vacation.

Get the right insurance

dental implant

Standard travel medical insurance often doesn’t include dental. This can be an expensive surprise. When you’re arranging your medical insurance, make sure that you have emergency dental treatment added. If it doesn’t, either find another policy that does or take out a separate one.

Research dentists before your travel

It’s always good practice to research where the nearest pharmacy, doctor, or hospital is before traveling. That way, if you fall ill, you will already know where you need to go. You should do the same for dentists. Find the nearest dentist where you are staying and find out if they take emergency patients. If they don’t, keep looking until you find the nearest one who does. Their website should also tell you if they accept tourist patients and your type of insurance.

If you’re visiting a popular tourist destination, you will probably find it relatively easy to find a dentist used to treat tourists in emergencies.

Find out if they speak your language. If they don’t have any English-speaking members of their staff, then you’re going to need to learn to basics when you’re calling to make an appointment. This is especially important if you have any allergies as you will need to make it very clear to them exactly what you are allergic to.

As part of your research, check that they have all the necessary credentials and look for online reviews so that you can be sure that you are being looked after by professionals. Different countries have very different standards of care so familiarize yourself with these before you travel.

In the age of COVID, you will also want to check what protective measures they have to prevent the risk of transmitting or catching the infection.

This might seem like a lot of extra work for something that probably won’t happen. But it is better to do your research in advance so that if you do experience a painful dental emergency, you can get it treated quickly and effectively, that it is to be stuck in a foreign country, in pain, with no idea what to do.

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