Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge CenterWhat to Do in Case of Dental Emergencies

What to Do in Case of Dental Emergencies

When you experience a dental problem or oral injury, it's important to know if you need emergency dental care and if your dental plan covers you. Not all dental problems are emergencies. A tooth falling out, a toothache, a chipped tooth, or pain from a dental crown could be serious dental problems, but not necessarily emergencies, so it's best to consider your options in advance.

Are toothaches considered dental emergencies?

A toothache should be taken seriously, but may not require emergency dental care. It can be the first sign of a bigger issue and could lead to more serious dental problems if not cared for. You should call your dentist anytime you have a toothache. They can help you decide if you need to be seen immediately.

What are some common dental emergencies?

Things like a bad toothache, an injury in which a tooth or teeth have been knocked out, a tooth abscess that's infected are a few examples of some possible dental emergencies. But knowing when you should seek emergency care is important.

Talk to your dentist whenever you have dental pain, suffer an injury or trauma to your mouth that includes broken or missing teeth, cuts, and other damage.

Besides a toothache and other dental problems, a dentist can also help provide care for:

  • How to fix a chipped tooth
  • Tooth filling fell out
  • Dental crown pain
  • Broken tooth repair
  • Tooth abscess

These may not necessarily be dental emergencies, but should be cared for as soon as possible.

Need dental coverage?

Cigna offers a variety of affordable dental plans, from basic plans that cover preventive care to plans that help cover major dental care.
Explore our dental plans

What are some causes of dental emergencies?

Playing sports, riding bikes, car accidents, work-related accidents, even rough play in and around your home, can lead to oral injuries resulting in a dental emergency.

Other causes, include chipping a tooth drinking from glass bottles or eating something very hard that breaks or cracks a tooth.

An infection can also lead to a tooth abscess which, if left untreated, could become something that needs to be treated immediately.

How do I know if something is an actual dental emergency?

Not all dental problems require you to seek emergency dental care. In cases where one or more teeth have been completely knocked out, your mouth has been injured, or a tooth abscess is leading to a lot of pain, you may need to be seen immediately.

Serious dental injuries or problems can lead to even worse problems if not cared for immediately. On the other hand, a filling that has fallen out, a minor chipped tooth, or a broken wire on braces, may be things that could wait until your dentist has an appointment, but always talk to your dentist for instructions on what action to take.

What should I do if I have a dental emergency?

Call your dentist first. If it's during regular business hours, they may be able to see you. Outside of normal business hours, other care options for a dental emergency include an urgent care center, or an emergency room for serious oral injuries.

Review your dental plan to see how dental emergencies are covered, as well as how much you and your plan may pay for emergency dental services.

If I have teeth knocked out, what should I do before I get to a dentist?

If one or more teeth have been dislodged, you should see your dentist immediately. You can take the following steps for saving and preserving the teeth:

  • Put teeth in milk
  • Pack a tooth socket—where the tooth came out in your mouth—with gauze, a cotton ball, or even a tea bag
  • For chipped and broken teeth, rinse and save the pieces, if possible

Contact your dentist immediately for any dental problems. A tooth abscess, toothache, pain from a dental crown, and chipped or broken teeth need care and if left untreated could lead to serious dental problems.

If you have a dental emergency, your dentist can tell you where to seek care.

Tags

Emergency Care

Related

Urgent Care vs. the Emergency Room Types of Dental Insurance Prepare for Oral Surgery: What You Need to Know Common Types of Dentists

Explore Our Plans and Policies

Health Insurance Medicare
Dental Insurance Supplemental Insurance

Back to Knowledge Center

This content is general health information and not medical advice or services. Always consult with your doctor/dentist for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and health care recommendations.

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details