Precautions to Take Before Travelling
See Your Dental Professional
To minimize the risk of a dental emergency abroad, visit your dental professional for a check-up before your trip. Schedule your appointment to allow enough time to complete any necessary or outstanding dental work before your departure date. When you visit your dental professional, you should:
- Tend to decayed teeth, broken fillings, and other dental problems;
- Have your teeth cleaned. This is particularly important if you have periodontal (gum) disease;
- Consider having partially exposed lower wisdom teeth removed, particularly if you will be away for an extended period of time. The fleshy covering over the tooth creates a food trap that can cause pericoronitis, a potentially serious infection that can spread to parts of the head and neck;
- Complete any root canal treatments to avoid potential infections and pain due to pressure changes during air travel
- If the work cannot be completed, ask your dental professional to insert a temporary paste filling to reduce the risk of problems.
- Inform your dental professional of your travel plans and ask about any other potential dental problems; and
- Take care of any potential problems before leaving home as some insurance policies don't provide coverage for care delivered overseas.
Infections can be spread from patient to patient, dental professional to patient and from patient to dental professional. In Canada, as well as other developed countries, dental professionals apply the principles of standard precautions, which help prevent the spread of infections.
See your health care provider or a travel health clinic at least 6 weeks before departure to better understand your risks. It may be recommended that you receive vaccines such as the vaccine protecting against hepatitis B.
For more information on recommended travel vaccines, see Immunizations Recommended Outside of Canada.
Created with permission from The Organization for Safety and Asepsis Procedures (OSAP)