Two tips for people who need to visit a dentist in a foreign country

If you find yourself in need of a dentist whilst you're visiting a foreign country, here are a couple of tips that you might find helpful.

Find a dentist who speaks your native language

If you are not fluent in the primary language of the country that you are visiting, it is extremely important to find a dental clinic that has a dentist who speaks your native language. For example, if you are from China, you should try to locate a Chinese speaking dentist.

There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, any miscommunication between you and your dentist could lead to you failing to receive the correct treatment.

For instance, if you need a filling but are allergic to amalgam (the most common type of material used to fill cavities) and your dentist doesn't speak Chinese, there is a chance that they may not understand you when you attempt to explain that you suffer from this allergy.

This could then result in them using amalgam to fill the cavity which could, in turn, lead to you having a serious allergic reaction that requires emergency medical treatment.

Secondly, if you find a Chinese speaking dentist, it will be far easier for you to clearly express your treatment preferences. For example, if you have chipped one of your teeth quite badly and the dentist initially recommends an extraction, but you don't want to lose your tooth and then have to wear dentures or get a dental implant, you could ask them to instead fit a crown or a veneer over the chipped tooth.

Ask for aftercare instructions and prescriptions to be written in your native language

It is absolutely critical to follow the aftercare instructions your dentist gives you to the letter and to understand how and when to take any medication they prescribe.

The only way to ensure that you can do this is to ask the dentist to write down the aftercare instructions and prescription information in your native language.

If you don't ask your dentist to do this, there is a chance that you may not be able to understand and follow the instructions they have provided. This could result in you developing serious post-treatment complications.

For example, if you have had an extraction, you may not realise that you need to rinse out your mouth with a medicated, antibacterial mouthwash several times a day. This could lead to you developing a major oral infection that requires further treatment.