PURPOSE: Dental emergencies vary from toothaches to oral and maxillofacial traumas. Because the number of dental emergency cases has increased recently, we analyzed characteristics of patients seen during the last 2 years, in an effort to find a trend. METHODS: This study was carried out with emergency room patients visiting the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery from 2009 to 2010. RESULTS: The total number of patients studied was 1,162; the ratio of males to females was 1.73:1. The most frequent age group was 0 to 9 years, followed by 20 to 29 years. Trauma (58.7%) was the most frequent cause followed by acute toothache, oral hemorrhage, infection, and temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder. In the trauma group, injuries of soft tissue and alveolus were prevalent. The most common causes of soft tissue injury were falls, safety violations and assault. The highest incidence of emergencies was seen in patients 0 to 9 years old (41.8%). The most common causes of jaw fracture were falls, assaults, and traffic accidents in that order. In the acute toothache group, most patients had pulpitis (41.2%). In the infection group, most had buccal space abscesses (40.0%). In the hemorrhage group, post-operative bleeding cases (80.5%) were the majority, and hemostasis was obtained mostly by pressure dressings. For the TMJ disorder group, masticatory muscle disorder (65.4%) was more common than TMJ dislocation. CONCLUSION: In this study, trauma was the most frequent reason for patients who visited the emergency room. However, acute toothache, hemorrhage, infection and TMJ disorders were also seen frequently. Dental emergency patients could be better treated by understanding patterns of dental emergencies and performing proper diagnoses.