How to Prepare for (or Access) Dental Care When You’re Traveling

| 7 min read

Holidays, vacations, or a combination of each. Either one has an affect on your routines - including dental care.

Even so, dental care when traveling requires thoughtful preparation just like your trip. Save yourself and your family from those didn’t-give-it-a-second-thought moments with some advance oral health travel tips.

How to find a dentist when traveling

Could be a dental emergency or an examination for an annoying dental issue. Being prepared for either one gives you some peace of mind when you’re on-the-road, away from home.

Two considerations about travel dental care:

  • Locating and communicating with a qualified (or recommended) dental provider.
  • (If applicable) Knowing the limits and provisions of your dental insurance coverage.

Ask for recommendations

Staying with family or friends? Ask about their provider or a one they would recommend.

Staying in a hotel or resort? Ask the concierge to provide personal or researched recommendation(s).

Traveling internationally? Contact your local consulate or (for U.S. citizens) the U.S. embassy. Their employees or service connections could be a useful resource for accessing dental care.

Confirm your coverage

If you have dental insurance, your provider can give you details about coverage. This applies to those occasions when you seek dental care that’s potentially out of network.

And for international travel circumstances your provider might be a helpful resource for information about dental care in a specific country or region.

Search online by location

Dental patient reviews are a good resource. They can give you insight into a dentist’s services, insurance coverage, and their patient experience.

  • Search terms/keywords related to your dental issue (e.g. bleeding gums, toothache, broken tooth, etc)
  • Confirm that your smartphone or device has location services enabled. This can help narrow your search specifics to the city/area in which you’re traveling.
  • Search in advance of your trip and prepare a list of links to local/regional dental and medical care.

Know your dental emergencies

No doubt, tooth or mouth pain is irritating and annoying. But not all oral pain is an “emergency.”

It’s a good idea when traveling to understand what qualifies as a dental emergency.

A missing or loose tooth

Your tooth could be lost or loose due to trauma or an unfortunate event. Either one requires immediate care to avoid a worsening condition.

  • Save the tooth (if possible).
  • Avoid touching the the tooth root. Hold it by the crown or chewing surface.
  • Use warm water to rinse the tooth.
  • Place the tooth in a small amount of milk (if available) or use an amount of your own saliva in a cup, etc.
  • Avoid eating, chewing, or drinking until you can have the missing tooth issue examined by a licensed dentist.
  • Contact a dentist online or schedule an appointment with an emergency dentist.

A cracked, fractured, or broken tooth

Whatever the cause, it’s essential to take action to avoid further tooth or gum damage.

  • Cleanse the affected tooth area with warm water (avoid mouthwash/rinses).
  • Attempt to cover the exposed tooth area with sterile gauze.
  • If swelling occurs, apply a cold compress using a washcloth, etc.
  • Seek dental treatment.

A toothache or severe mouth pain

The sudden onset of tooth or mouth pain can indicate a deeper oral health issue. Those could include:

  • Something caught or wedged between your tooth and sensitive gum tissue.
  • Tooth damage such as a crack or fracture.
  • Gum irritation or gum disease.
  • Oral infection.

Relief is possible while traveling. Use the following:

  • Over-the-counter pain medications
  • A cold compress
  • Eating soft foods
  • Avoiding hot and cold foods and beverages

Pain that continues or worsens could require a dental visit. Swelling, bleeding, or a fever are good indications that you should contact a dentist.

Stay consistent with your routine, preventive dental care

At home or away - consistency matters. Your preventive dental care routine helps you avoid dental related problems wherever you are.

Pack the essentials

  • A toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss

And if you happen to forget an item - ask your accommodations for a complimentary one to use.

Eat healthy

Enjoy yourself but keep an eye on your food and beverage choices. Again, consistent preventive care provides a beneficial safeguard for your teeth and gums.

Schedule a pre-trip check-up

A dental check-up a few days prior to a departure can spot any potential problems before they worsen. Depending on the length of your trip, you could postpone treatment until you return.

Or take care of it before leaving so you can avoid a related dental emergency.

Virtual dentistry provides a convenient solution for routine and/or pre-travel dental check-ups. A licensed online dentist is available for an examination, diagnosis, or a dental emergency at home or on the road.

Schedule your next dental check-up with an online dentist or connect with one while you’re traveling

The team of dental professionals are trained to identify, diagnose, and treat any dental condition. From toothaches to second opinions - you’re covered!

  • Access a 24 hour dentist now from your personal, private, and secure account.
  • Select a reason for your visit using a brief questionnaire.
  • Receive virtual dental care from a licensed dentist when you provide your issue details, any photos, and/or dental/health records.

Discover more about on our How it Works page. Or Register Now.