It’s your first trip abroad. Or maybe your tenth. Either way, your to-do list probably includes a number of fun things that increase the thrill of anticipation. Book villa. Exchange currency. Purchase new bathing suit. Create itinerary. The planning of a trip is half the fun.
Um…we hate to kill your buzz, but there is one not-so-fun thing we recommend adding to your to-do list:
Visit the dentist
This is probably the last thing you want to hear (or do), but if you don’t, you could risk ruining your trip.
Here are four really important reasons why you want to get to the dentist before you travel abroad:
Here’s the thing: when you’re living your regular life here at home, you know the dentist is always right around the corner. It’s easy to take for granted not only that you have easy access to dental care, but also that it will be safe. In the United States, our dentists are held to high standards of care that ensure your safety, including infection prevention, the use of proper equipment, and radiation safety. Should you need care abroad, these are not guarantees, especially in developing countries.
Tip: Schedule a checkup for at least a month before your trip so that you have time to have any additional procedures done, if necessary.
Similarly as above, here in the United States, accreditation by the ADA requires extensive training, the passing of national examinations, and the meeting of state requirements. Only then can a dentist earn a license to practice, and therefore become a dentist. While the similar steps may be necessary for dentists in the country you are visiting, specific dental regulations may be difficult to determine.
Tip: If you plan to live in another country for a period of more than a month or two, do some research about their regulations. Just in case you need a dentist while you’re there, seek out the name, address, and phone number of one near where you’ll be living who meets those regulations
Recovery and follow-up
Don’t assume that just because the country where you are traveling is a popular location for “dental tourism,” you should put off your dental work until you get there. Although the work itself may be easy (or cheap) to get, any dental procedure that is surgical nature requires both recovery time and follow-up with the dentist. Post-treatment risks following dental surgery include bleeding, pain, swelling and infection. If you want to enjoy your trip, get your dental work done before you go.
Tip: Scheduling your dentist appointment as many as three months before your trip will give you plenty of time for procedures, recovery, and follow-up.
As Americans, many of us are so accustomed to the protections in place at home that we forget those same protections don’t always apply outside of the United States. Insurance often falls into this category. Just because you have dental insurance at home doesn’t mean it will cover you abroad. And even when it does, your insurance might not cover follow-up work that you need when you get back home.
Tip: If you plan to be out of the country for a longer period of time, find a qualified dentist in the country you’re visiting and confirm with both dentists (at home and abroad) that the transfer of patient records is consistent with current U.S. privacy and security guidelines.
Come see us.
At Soft Touch Dental in San Diego, we know you prefer to tackle all the fun stuff on your to-do list when preparing for a big trip. But we also know that dental issues abroad can ruin the fun experience and potentially cost a lot of money.
Come in to our office in Clairemont for a checkup. Who knows? We may give you the all-clear right away. If not, we’ll do our best to schedule any necessary procedures early enough to give you plenty of time for recovery and follow-up before you go. Either way, you’ll be able to enjoy your trip without worrying about your teeth.
Give us a call today.