No matter how much we plan and prep for our vacations, sometimes, things don’t always go quite as planned. Maybe you get a flat tire on your road trip across the state. Or you need to unexpectedly pay for an extra night at the hotel. But one scenario that probably doesn’t cross our minds is what to do if we have a dental mishap on our trip.
And while we can’t prepare for every chipped tooth or bleeding gum, what we can do is arm ourselves with the knowledge we need to give us peace of mind if something does happen. So, if your patients have travel plans, take a few minutes to teach them what to do in case of a dental emergency.
Pack some dental care essentials
When they pack up their travel first aid kit, make some room and throw in a few dental emergency care items, too! These include cotton balls, disposable gloves and oral gel. While these items are not a substitute for professional care, they can temporarily alleviate pain and keep things under control.
To learn more about these and other dental emergency kit essentials, check out this article!
Check the check-up off the list
To minimize the chance of a dental issue occurring on a trip, it may be in your patient’s best interest to schedule their bi-annual checkup before hitting the road. This way, you may be able to catch any potential problems before they head out.
Know where to go out of town
Before they travel, make sure they call your office. Depending on their destination and what networks you’re part of, you may be able to refer them to another office.
If they have dental insurance, they can also call the number on the back of their card and they will be able to guide them on where they may be able to seek dental care in case something urgent happens on their vacation. If they don’t have insurance, they still have options. They can enroll in a low-cost dental discount program before they go or check out this resource guide from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
What to do if traveling abroad
Preparing for international travel is obviously different than a domestic trip and seeking dental care is no exception. They should still seek advice from your office and/or their insurance carrier, but since dental care and accessibility varies widely by location, they will want to keep some information handy. Here are some key contacts:
- The hotel concierge
- Any Americans or military personnel (if they know any in the area)
- The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers
- The contact information for the American Embassy in the country they are visiting
- The American Dental Society of Europe
- Finally, check out this guide to safe dental care for travelers, courtesy of the Organization For Safety and Asepsis Procedures.
The bottom line: When on the road, it is good to be prepared for anything, including a dental emergency. Pack some dental care essentials in an emergency kit. Schedule a regular check-up before travel to minimize risk. Use the time before a trip to do some homework: find out where other dental offices are and how to get low-cost care without insurance. If traveling abroad, have some important contact information at the ready just in case.