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How to use dental insurance while abroad

How to Use Your Dental Insurance Abroad

February 9, 2018

Toothbrush? Toothpaste? Floss? Check! Including your go-to oral health items in your bag before a trip is a part of the routine packing process. 

And of course there is nothing worse than leaving for your trip sighing with relief that you’re fully prepared, only to wake up to extreme tooth pain in the morning. 

What do you do? Which dentist do you go to? Are you covered?

While we don’t like to think about it, a dental emergency can still occur no matter how prepared you are – even while on vacation. Fortunately, just like your jetlag, coverage can come with you, even overseas. Understanding your coverage, just like packing your essentials, is an important step towards preparing yourself for your amazing trip abroad. Now you can sigh with relief – we are here to help!

To help prevent a dental emergency, be proactive.


If you know that you have a trip coming up and haven’t been to the dentist in a while, the first step is to make sure you pay a visit to your provider. This is especially important if you will be away for an extended period of time. 

Tip: Be sure that any and all root canal treatments are completed before your trip as to avoid potential infections and pain caused by air pressure changes during travel or in areas that are high in altitude. If you anticipate needing this treatment, be sure to get care in advance to your trip. 

If a dental emergency does occur:


Seek treatment immediately

We cannot emphasize this enough! If you are out of the country and an emergency occurs, seek treatment immediately. It is important to pursue care as soon as possible as to not cause any further damage and of course, so that you can continue to enjoy your trip pain-free. You can see any licensed dentist anywhere in the world for emergency dental services. 

Find a reputable dentist

Dental care is available across the world. Many foreign countries have highly comparable dental education programs to that of the U.S. If you’re having a tough time finding a reputable dentist, check and see if the country you’re visiting has its own professional dental association. Oftentimes they can provide a list of dentist referrals.

Pay at time of service

Prepare to pay the dentist at the time of your procedure. Your coverage will usually convert currency for reimbursement. And rest assure—reimbursement will be sent after you file your claim.

File your claim

Because you’re out of the country, insurance companies must follow more stringent procedures. This means in order to receive reimbursement, you will need to file your own dental claim. Be sure to ask for a detailed billing statement after your procedure has been completed. 

Please ensure that your claim includes:
  • An English translation of the claim (if possible)
  • Information on the treatment provided
  • The tooth or teeth numbers
  • The date of service
  • The cost of service


Check your dental insurance coverage

No two dental insurance plans are the same and dental insurance carriers have unique requirements for submitting out-of-country claims. If you're one of our members, create or sign in to your MySmile® account to view your dental coverage. Then, download and submit out-of-country claims form.

Shopping for dental coverage? We offer 5 individual plans designed to meet any smile's needs or budget.

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