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Cavity in the Caribbean
Posted: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 3:44 PM
Joined: 07/01/2010
Posts: 1

I think I may have a cavity.. But I'm stuck in the Caribbean until April. What can I do to ensure it does not get worse? Thank you!
Dr Ken
Posted: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 9:43 PM
Joined: 08/07/2008
Posts: 23

Not sure how you come to know there is a cavity – maybe you have toothache or maybe a filling has come out. You should have some oil of cloves on board which is a useful dental anaesthetic and painkiller as well as an antiseptic. This may be enough on its own or could be reinforced with an oral painkiller like paracetamol or something stronger if your medical person in charge thinks it appropriate. I hope it isn’t toothache that’s the problem because April is a long way off and a half day ashore to see a dentist may be essential. If a filling has come out, then you may have some temporary filling material in a dental first aid kit included with the medical kit. This will protect the exposed tooth against ongoing decay and cavity enlargement although it is not likely to get much bigger in two to three months when the dentist should be able to fill it. If the tooth has a sharp edge as a result of a filling coming out then the temporary filling material can be smoothed off to reduce the troublesome pain of sharp trauma to the tongue or inner cheek caused by the damaged tooth. I usually try to make sure that ENG1 candidates see a dentist at least once a year to ensure decent dental health and to try to avoid this sort of problem which can be relatively innocuous onshore but is magnified out of all proportion when it occurs at sea and many miles away from help – but even regular checks don’t stop fillings falling out or teeth being broken on hard food! Hope this helps.
Posted: Friday, January 28, 2011 9:28 PM
Joined: 09/10/2008
Posts: 134

Assuming you are working on a red flag boat, the boat is required to cover ALL medical expenses which can not be reasonably put off until your return to your home country. Clearly if you are in pain then you need medical attention. This is a legal requirement (and there is no mention of excess payments in the legal text!). If the boat choses to take out insurance in the form of P&I or crew medical cover that is a matter for the management, but it does not affect the fact that the boat has this responsibility to its crew. There are good medical facilities in the Caribbean (well some...) so my advice is to ask around, visit a few dentists to find one that you are comfortable with and approach you Captain and ask for his/her help. Let us know how you get on and if you find a dentist you want to recommend (or not!!). Good luck!
Posted: Saturday, January 29, 2011 6:42 PM
I have heard that there is good dentist on St. Martin (3rd hand info, acquaintance of dock neighbor)...If you find yourself on SXM, just ask around. Good Luck!
Dr Yani McConnell DMD
Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2011 2:28 AM
Joined: 11/05/2011
Posts: 1

I hope you were able to to find a dentist in the Caribbean to help you out of pain.