Specialist Dental Group has launched an on-going series of blog posts by our individual dental specialists. All views provided are the dentist’s own opinions and are posted on this blog as part of our on-going efforts to educate the public about dental issues and other matters of interest relating to dentistry and healthcare.
Dental emergencies can be really painful, especially when it happens in a foreign land. Most of the time, just when one is thoroughly enjoying the local attractions and food delicacies, the dreaded toothache or oral discomfort is enough to put a stop to the holiday mood.
I encountered two such lady patients within a week not too long ago. The first lady was from Germany, and she was visiting Singapore, enroute to Bali and Bangkok. All in all, she was about to spend 8 weeks touring South-East Asia. The moment she presented in our clinic, my dental assistants and I could feel the apprehension and anxiousness in her. She could not sleep the previous night and had to take painkillers to ease her toothache. After a thorough examination with accompanying x-rays, this lady presented with a root canal infection on one of the upper left molar teeth. She also had concurrent gum infection on the upper left wisdom tooth. She needed emergency root canal treatment and deep gum cleaning on the upper left hand side. When the treatment plan was proposed, she broke down out of over-anxiety. After some hand-holding, we managed to do the required treatment and she got well enough to travel the next day.
The next patient was a Russian lady. She was on a tour of South-east Asia for one month. She came into our clinic crying in pain and requested us to help us ease her pain. She was found to have a root canal infection from a lower premolar tooth and concurrent gum abscess. We immediately had to perform a minor surgery to drain the pus and relieve her pain. She recovered quickly, such that she was able to continue with her travels a few days later.
It is indeed unpleasant when one needs to seek emergency medical or dental treatment when travelling. I once had to seek out emergency medical treatment during a trip to USA after contracting a severe bout of flu and confined to two days rest in the hotel room (which means wasted time). Through my own experiences, I could fully empathize with my two lady patients who were suffering in pain and at the same time deal with a totally unfamiliar environment, which adds on the distress.
Maintaining good dental health is not difficult. All it takes it daily brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentist. Early detection of dental problems allows easier, faster and cheaper resolution to these problems. It also means peace of mind while travelling.
To all those travelling soon, have you seen your dentist yet?
Dr Elvin Leong is a Prosthodontist with Specialist Dental Group. He is currently the President of the Prosthodontics Society (Singapore) and has published in scientific journals in Singapore and internationally. He has a special interest in crowns, implants and cosmetic dentistry. For more information on Dr Leong, click here.