How to Handle a Dental Emergency While Traveling
Dental emergencies are usually out of your control. There’s no real way to know when or how they will happen and sometimes they will happen at inconvenient times such as while you’re traveling. It’s no doubt stressful when this happens but as a dentist who’s been practicing emergency dentistry for 18 years, I’m here to help you know what to do if you experience an emergency while traveling.
Preparing for your trip
Before you hop in the car or get on a plane there a few things you can do prior to traveling to prepare for a dental emergency.
Get a checkup
Whether you’re traveling solo or the whole family is coming, it’s not a bad idea for everyone traveling to get a dental checkup. This way if there are any problems, they can be handled before you are in an unfamiliar place. It’s a good way to have peace of mind and have updated information. This way you can be stress-free and enjoy your trip.
Have contact information
It’s not a bad idea with your dentist aware that you will be traveling. Write down their contact information. If you are concerned about a dental issue, emergency or not, most issues can be resolved over the phone. Having a dentist you’re familiar with only a phone call away, is another way to create peace of mind and be prepared for your time traveling.
Make dental care a priority
While on a trip, the last thing you want to do is stress. With that being said, if something happens, make dental care a priority. There may be things you can do to resolve dental emergencies on your own until you can return home and visit your dentist. For example, if you have a toothache it’s best to clean your mouth by rinsing with warm water and floss around the painful area. After you come home, you can visit your dentist to make sure the toothache has healed.
Other dental emergencies need immediate care. These emergencies can include a broken chipped, or lost tooth. Luckily, there is a network of 24 hour dental clinics available to you. Find a dentist near where you are, and visit them as soon as possible.
If you plan to travel to another country, handling a dental emergency may be more difficult but many parts of the world offer great dental care. If an emergency happens while you are overseas and you need immediate care, there are many places to turn to find a dentist.
If you have travel insurance, use the company’s 24-hour hotline. They will help refer you to a qualified dental professional and can even help translate if needed. Many countries have dental associations as well which can help you to find dental care. You can talk to your hotel’s concierge service or contact the American Embassy if you need help finding a dental referral.
As a dentist who specializes in emergency dental care, I want you to be prepared for a dental emergency to happen anytime and anywhere, especially when you’re traveling. Going on a trip is usually fun and relaxing, especially when it’s with family. We want you to enjoy these times stress-free. However, while it’s never convenient to deal with situations like this away from home, knowing how to handle them is important.
Dr. Greg Grillo was born and raised in the Okanogan Valley in Washington state. Dr. Grillo spent eight years at the University of Washington and received a bachelor’s degree with honors before attending the School of Dentistry on the same campus.
From there he was selected for a Health Professions Scholarship by the United States Navy where he served as a dental officer for four years.
While in the navy, Dr. Grillo served tours in South Carolina and Japan, treating families of squadron military members and receiving advanced training in multiple areas of specialized dentistry. In 1999, after completing more than 300 hours of this additional formal education, he returned home to join the practice of his father, Dr. Jerry Grillo (Grillo-Robeck Dental).
Dr. Grillo has continued his practice in North Central Washington for more than 17 years, balancing his clinical practice with a role as the Content Director at a rapidly growing dental software company and freelance dental copywriting.
He especially enjoys caring for growing families in his practice and remains passionate about incorporating new technologies into his work that enhance the patient experience.
Dr. Grillo continues to take numerous continuing education courses on all aspects of dentistry and is also involved in a variety of community activities in the Omak area outside of his work.