The family physician frequently makes decisions relating to patients' dental health. The physician can address patients' concerns about tooth eruption or the adverse effects of mercury amalgam. Predisposing factors for dental disease, such as use of certain medications, existing medical conditions (e.g., xerostomia) and traumatic injury, often are first noted by the family physician. Dental emergencies, including abscess and avulsion, can be initially managed by the physician and then referred to the dentist. The physician can coordinate care with a dentist when a patient has dental trauma, requires medical management for a dental procedure or has a medical condition that increases the likelihood of dental disease.