It’s summertime, which for many of us, means vacation! If you’re finally taking that adventure overseas, you are probably thinking about a lot of things. What sights are you going to see? Which famous restaurants will you try? Where are you going to stay? What are you going to pack? One thing you are probably not thinking about, however, is what are you going to do if you have a dental emergency? Your dental health might not be at the forefront of your mind right now, but it’s wise to educate yourself about your options now in case something happens. This way, it doesn’t have to ruin your whole trip, and you can travel with added peace of mind.

Common Dental Emergencies

How you respond to your dental emergency abroad will depend on what the particular issue is. While you cannot plan an emergency, you can at least educate yourself enough that if a problem comes up, you will know what to do in the event that one of these common dental emergencies presents themselves.


It’s common for people who are flying to experience toothaches, particularly if they have any fillings. This is due to imbalances in air pressure. Air enters through a crack, cavity, or space in your filling, which then expands due to changes in pressure. This causes an aching pain that should go away once you land, and should not occur if you don’t have a pre-existing issue.

If your toothache doesn’t go away when you land, ensure that you don’t have anything stuck in there by rinsing your mouth and flossing your teeth. You might take a painkiller to fight any discomfort. If you find that the ache continues to linger and is disrupting your enjoyment of your trip, you may need to seek professional dental help.

Broken/Cracked Tooth

Whether you are 3,000 miles or a block away from home, if your tooth breaks or cracks, you need to immediately seek medical attention. Rinse your mouth and apply a cold compress to your cheek to address swelling, then promptly seek care. Before you leave for your trip, it’s wise to write down the number of a local emergency dentist or an urgent care center.

Knocked-Out Tooth

If your tooth has come out of your mouth entirely, you want to make sure to follow these steps to ensure that you will be more likely to be able to put the tooth back.

  • Hold the tooth by its crown.
  • If the root is dirty, rinse it, but don’t touch the tissue fragments or put the tooth in a cloth.
  • Ideally, you should hold the tooth in the socket. If you are not able to do this, transport it in a glass of milk.
  • Seek immediate emergency dental care. After about 30 minutes, the likelihood of being able to save the tooth decreases significantly.

How to Be Prepared for Dental Emergency When Traveling

While you can’t predict the future, being prepared will go a long way toward avoiding a dental emergency while you’re traveling abroad. Here are some precautionary steps you can take for your trip to improve your odds of dental safety.

  • Get a checkup before you leave. If you have a history of dental issues, such as gum disease or cavities, go in for a checkup and cleaning before you hop the pond. This way, your dentist can look for any signs that you might run into an issue while you’re on your trip. The last thing you want is to go abroad, go to an emergency dentist for a toothache, and find you need a root canal.
  • Invest in dental insurance. There’s a good chance your policy doesn’t cover you overseas, so it’s worth the peace of mind to invest in a temporary additional plan to ensure you are covered, wherever you are.
  • Practice good oral health while traveling. Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean you don’t need to take the time to maintain your dental hygiene. Make sure to pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. It’s wise to also make a point to pack painkillers in the evening of a toothache.

At Smiles by Dr. Santos, we are happy that you have the opportunity to travel internationally but want to make sure that you’re prepared to keep your smile intact. If you’re looking for a dentist in Manahawkin who cares, contact us today to schedule an appointment.