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House Sitters Wanted
2nd July 2013

Hold on to your Armrests, House Sitters who need Dental Treatment whilst Travelling!

Travelling Sitters’ Medical and Dental issues

 For some folks, even when settled into a regular existence in their own home town, the very idea of visiting a dentist causes abject terror.  It’s not uncommon for normally intelligent, rational people to risk serious injury, intense pain and potential infection by attempting DIY dental treatment. Out come the pliers and away goes their common sense.

Dental emergency hospital departments across the world treat patients on a regular basis who have snapped off their own teeth a few millimetres above the root with a pair of plumber’s grips. Often it’s simply because the patient’s fear of a ‘do it yourself’ procedure is less that that of the smell, sound and terrifying anticipation of the dentist’s chair.

Sometimes it may be financial issues keeping people from the dentist’s surgery, but whatever problematic issues some may face with their teeth, travelling the world can never make those things any simpler.

House Sitters’ Travel and Medical Insurance

As professional sitters for almost 10 years, we are acutely aware of problematic access to medical and dental treatment whilst on the road.  It’s not that the standard of treatment is necessarily better or worse by country, wherever one travels within the civilised world; more importantly, for many people, especially nervous patients, sticking with the same dentist is utterly essential.  In fact, it’s so important that taking an expensive flight home can be preferable to the uncertainty of invasive dental treatment by a stranger.  Undergoing root canal work is bad enough, but when it’s performed by a total stranger who doesn’t speak the patient’s own language, and the medical certificate on the surgery wall is undecipherable, it’s enough to make anyone shudder.

Medical treatment of any description from unfamiliar practitioners is, by its very nature, something of a lottery.  Lin has had a root canal procedure go horribly wrong from shoddy treatment in southern Spain in 2011, yet Tom had marvellous treatment from a French dentist last year, which was second-to-none and cost only a few Euros.

A couple of sitter travel tips

There’s no easy way around it, but tips we’ve learned over the years are:

  • Make sure your travel insurance covers emergency dental treatment.
  • If possible, ask any local folks / friends of your home owner client for recommendations.
  • Your travel insurance company can source a dentist for you, but you can also suggest one to them that has been recommended to you.
  • If visiting a dentist who doesn’t speak your language, take a laptop / i-pad/ smartphone that can access ‘Google Translate’ so that you can communicate!
  • If claiming on the travel insurance, always attempt to clear the claim before the treatment by phone, and KEEP ANY RECEIPTS.
  • Travel insurance will often pay out for expensive phone calls to arrange treatment, but check your policy to ensure you can claim these expenses.


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