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What to do in a dental emergency

Toothaches, chipped teeth and lost fillings — dental emergencies can strike at the most inconvenient times, leaving you unsure and worried. But knowing what to do can make a big difference in dealing with the situation the right way and reducing any potential damage. Here, we'll review common dental emergencies and your options to get the care you need.

What Is a dental emergency?

Not every dental issue needs immediate attention from a dentist. Here are some examples of true oral health emergencies:

  • Excessive bleeding: Uncontrollable bleeding after having a tooth removed (from injury or after mouth surgery) needs immediate attention.
  • Knocked-out tooth: A permanent tooth that has been knocked out requires urgent attention from a dentist.
  • Broken jaw: Jaw injuries need immediate medical attention due to potential nerve damage.
  • Tooth infections: Signs of tooth infection include swelling, severe pain and fever, and you should be seen by a dentist as soon as possible to help prevent the infection from spreading.

What to do during a dental emergency

  • Know when to go to the emergency room: If you're experiencing severe pain, excessive bleeding that won’t stop or are struggling to breathe, go to the emergency room or call 911. These are potentially life-threatening situations.
  • Manage non-severe pain and bleeding: For moderate pain, try over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. For bleeding, apply gentle pressure to the bleeding area with a clean gauze pad or cloth.
  • Take care of your knocked-out tooth: Carefully pick up the tooth by the crown (the white part of the tooth that is visible above the gumline), rinse it with water or milk, and try to gently reinsert it in the socket (for adults only; do not reinsert a child tooth). If that's not possible, store the tooth in a cup of milk and head straight to the dentist.
  • Contact your dentist or book a teledentistry visit: Even if the emergency seems minor, call your dentist as soon as possible. They can assess the situation and schedule an emergency appointment to address the issue and prevent further complications. If your dentist is unavailable, you can also book a teledentistry visit. All Delta Dental of Iowa members have access to our teledentistry benefit, which offers you the ability to chat with a dental professional via video chat about your issue and get professional guidance on what you should do. 

Tips to ease anxiety during a dental emergency

  • Do not wait for severe tooth pain to subside. Early treatment has a higher rate of success.
  • Keep your dentist's emergency contact information readily available. Also, keep Delta Dental of Iowa’s teledentistry information handy.
  • Put together a dental emergency kit containing gauze pads, pain relievers and a small container for a knocked-out tooth.

By being prepared, you can face a dental emergency with confidence and keep your oral health protected.


National Library of Medicine 

National Health Scotland 

Delta Dental of Iowa 

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Legal Insurance: Good for your business and your employees

Employers are challenged with offering innovative ways to help support their employees’ overall wellness. One way to set your organization apart is by offering a legal insurance benefit to your workforce.

Delta Dental of Iowa has partnered with ARAG® Legal Insurance to offer a comprehensive legal insurance and identity theft protection benefit.

Here’s a look at why adding a legal insurance benefit is a smart move for your company. But first, let’s take a look at what the legal insurance benefit entails.

Delta Dental of Iowa legal insurance benefit: At a glance

Legal insurance plan members receive 100% paid-in-full coverage on network attorney fees for most covered matters, including wills, divorce and family law matters, traffic violations and real estate transactions. ARAG has more than 15,000 network attorneys who are able to assist, and employees can work with those attorneys over the phone or in person.

Delta Dental of Iowa’s legal insurance benefit also includes identity theft protection, to further protect your employees’ peace of mind.

Why legal insurance is good for your business

  • Enhanced talent acquisition and retention: Offering legal insurance shows that you support employees beyond their basic needs. This message especially resonates with millennials and Gen Z, who prioritize employer values and seek companies that invest in their personal and professional growth. By offering a unique and valuable benefit like legal insurance, you can attract and retain top talent in a competitive market.
  • Increased productivity and reduced time off: Legal issues can be time consuming, often requiring employees to take time off work for attorney consultations and court appearances. Legal insurance provides access to efficient legal services, minimizing wasted time and allowing employees to be more productive. In fact, more than 70% of ARAG members didn’t have to take time off work to solve their legal issue.1

Why your employees will love legal insurance

  • Stress relief and improved morale: Legal issues, from everyday matters like traffic violation to major life events like divorce or adoption, can be incredibly stressful. This stress can bleed into employees' work lives, impacting productivity and engagement. Legal insurance empowers employees to address these issues head-on, knowing they have access to affordable legal guidance and representation. This reduces stress, improves overall wellness and leads to a happier, more focused workforce.
  • Financial protection and cost savings: Legal fees can quickly drain personal finances, causing significant hardship for employees facing legal challenges. By working with an ARAG network attorney, your employees won't pay any network attorney fees for most covered legal matters. This financial protection allows employees to seek legal help without fear of high costs or surprise legal fees, preventing debt and protecting their financial security.

Ready to bolster your benefits package with legal insurance?

Adding legal insurance to your employee benefits package empowers your employees, reduces their stress and expenses, enhances their overall wellness and ultimately benefits your company through improved productivity and talent acquisition. By investing in legal insurance, you can stand out in the competitive market and show your employees that you truly care about their well-being — on and off the clock.

Learn more about Delta Dental of Iowa’s legal insurance benefit here and reach out to your Delta Dental of Iowa Account Manager with your questions. We are happy to explore the possibilities of what this innovative benefit offering can bring to your organization.


ARAG Stress Research Study, October 2022.