Every so often, the well-prepared traveller triumphs. A friend recalls the day she produced a dental kit from her backpack five days into a two-week trek along Nepal's remote Annapurna circuit. She was the hero of the hour; a fellow hiker had dislodged a large dental crown after biting a hard cracker, and the exposed tooth was excruciatingly painful. Despite an offer from their friendly Sherpa to remove the tooth 'very good, very quick', the general consensus was that the use of the kit would be preferable. The tooth survived. One of the best portable emergency dental kits is made by Lifesystems ( www.lifesystems.co.uk ), which supplies medical equipment to adventure travellers and explorers. The Dental Kit contains all the essential equipment and instructions necessary to treat the most common emergencies: a mirror (useful when self-treating), a spatula, clove oil (effective to numb pain), cotton rolls and a temporary filling paste. It also includes a sterile needle and syringe (intended for use by a professional). A guidebook gives concise step-by-step instructions, so no prior medical or dental knowledge is needed. Because the pack is light (100 grams) and compact (120mm by 80mm by 40mm), it is suited to all forms of travel. The Dental Kit is designed as a temporary stop-gap measure. If you have access to the internet while on the road, the American Dental Association ( www.ada.org ) provides useful advice for dealing with emergencies. The Organisation for Safety and Asepsis Procedures ( www.osap.org ) has a traveller's guide, which includes a checklist for getting safe dental treatment abroad. Lifesystems Dental Kit costs GBP9.99 (HK$154) and is available from www.snowandrock.com (or go to the Lifesystem website for more suppliers). Delivery to Hong Kong can be arranged.