It’s amazing how something as small and insignificant as a rye seed or un-popped corn kernel can quickly turn even the dreamiest holiday into a nightmare. You’ve still got a good few days at least until you head home, but you’ve found yourself nursing a cracked or broken tooth.
Needless to say, it’s the kind of eventuality that really can put a damper on things. Particularly if the damage is severe and/or painful, it can be hard to focus on anything else at all. Indeed, if things are looking bleak, it’s probably best not to focus on anything else until you get it sorted.
But given the fact that you’re thousands of miles from home, what exactly should you do with your cracked or broken tooth? Once the initial panic has subsided, what’s the best way of handling the unfortunate scenario so as to not completely wreck the rest of your trip?
As touched upon, it all comes down to the nature and severity of the problem. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is grab a mirror and/or a willing participant and have a good look at the thing. Assess whether the damage is rudimentary or severe, before deciding what to do next. In addition, consider the extent to which the breakage is causing you any pain or discomfort.
After which, it’s a case of proceeding in accordance with the following tips from dental health experts:
1. Keep it Clean and Hygienic
If the damage is somewhat superficial – or at least isn’t causing you any real pain or discomfort – it’s essential that you keep it clean and hygienic for the rest of your trip. Even the smallest cracks and imperfections to the teeth can harbour the kinds of germs and bacteria that have nasty infections written all over them.
For the time being, your powerful electric toothbrush may not be the best tool for tackling a tooth in distress. Instead, invest in the softest toothbrush you can find (perhaps a brush for kids) and use an approved antibacterial mouthwash to keep things as clean and fresh as possible. Combine immaculate hygiene with a careful approach to what you eat and drink for the rest of the trip and chances are you’ll get way with the whole thing until you get home.
2. Don’t Suffer in Silence
By contrast, if the broken tooth is causing you any significant pain or discomfort, there’s nothing to gain by suffering in silence. You might want to enjoy the rest of your trip, but it’s going to be impossible to do so if you’re suffering the whole time. Not only this, but pain and discomfort would suggest that the problem is relatively severe and only stands to get worse if left unaddressed.
It’s therefore in your best interests to bite the bullet…no pun intended. Unless you’re literally in the middle of nowhere, you should be able to reach a dentist or doctor of some kind to take a look at the problem. Even if it’s simply to prescribe you something to keep the pain and discomfort under control, it’s better than just sitting there in pain.
3. Don’t Choose a Dentist at Random
That said, the last thing you want to do is choose a local dentist at random. Make no mistake about it – healthcare standards in overseas nations aren’t always on the same level as those back home in the UK. It’s not to say every dentist out there is dodgy, but there are huge differences from one service provider to the next.
So rather than choosing at random, take the time to carry out at least a little rudimentary research. You should be able to find all the information you need online, using reviews and testimonials to guide your decision. If you happen across a dentist that doesn’t deliver a reassuring first impression, take your business elsewhere.
4. Request Local Recommendations
In fact, one of the best ways of finding a quality dentist you can count on is to request recommendations from the locals. Speak to local business owners, your holiday rep or anyone who knows the area better than you and see if they can point you in the right direction.
It’s worth remembering that the quality of the care you’re provided with may largely be determined by how much you are willing to spend. There will probably be options available to suit all budgets, but it’s never a good idea to cut corners simply to save money.
5. Check Your Insurance
Before going ahead and agreeing to any dental work abroad, carefully check the extent to which you are covered by your travel insurance. The reason being that not all dental work is covered – particularly if it can be classified as cosmetic. In the event of a dental emergency, your insurance may cover the costs of having your tooth pulled, but may not pay a penny for a crown or any kind of reconstructive work.
This is important to bear in mind if your intention is to use the services of a premium dental surgery and claim the money back upon your return. If in any doubt, get in touch with your insurer directly and request confirmation of your coverage or otherwise.
6. Call Your Dentist at Home
Last but not least, if you have a dentist you see on a regular basis back home, there’s nothing to stop you giving them a call. Even if they’re unable to consult with you at the time, they’ll probably be more than happy to call you back at a more convenient juncture. Their expertise and independence on the matter could prove invaluable in helping you make the right decision.
This can be particularly important if a local dentist suggests you undergo any extensive or expensive dental work. In order to ensure it’s absolutely necessary, there’s always the option of contacting your dentist at home for a second opinion.