STEPHEN J. HARPER D.D.S.
2805 ALHAMBRA AVENUE
MARTINEZ, CA 94553
What is an emergency? When to call….When to wait…
Very few orthodontic problems constitute an emergency. If you notice a loose “glue on” brace, a loose “wrap around” molar band, a broken wire or a rubberband tie off; this does not require you to call our emergency number,
call us during normal business hours. Even if you have a regular
appointment coming up soon, you need to call us for a longer appointment in order that we may have enough time to fix the loose item. If you have one of
the above problems and it is causing you pain that cannot be remedied with “wax” or simply removing the offending object, call our emergency line at
What can I do myself to fix the problem?
If you are in pain (usually from a poking or broken wire), please use the wax we gave you to cover the poking object. If you do not have any wax, you can purchase orthodontic wax at Longs or use softened sugarless gum may be placed over the problem area when all else fails. If you can neither solve the issue yourself, nor can you get in to the office for an emergency visit, a LAST OPTION would be to cut the wire with a nail clipper and pull it out the last brace with a tweezer.
What to do if your retainer breaks or is lost?
Call us during normal business hours. If you have had your braces off less than 6 weeks, we need to make you a new retainer or fix your old one as soon as possible. If your retainer is broken and you can still wear the front piece without it falling out, do so until you can get in for an appointment. If it is broken or loose, do not wear it at night until it is fixed. If we are unable to see you right away (you or we are on vacation) your teeth may move slightly, but once we fix or replace your retainer, your teeth should shift back, just be sure to call us ASAP.
What to do if a serious accident occurs?
If an accident causes a noticeable displacement of one or more front teeth, or a tooth is totally knocked out, call your general dentist immediately. If you can push the teeth back into place, do so immediately. Try to replace a knocked out tooth back in its original “socket”. If you are unable to do so, place the tooth in a glass of milk and take it to your general dentist immediately.
Of course, if there are any other medical issues, you should call 911 or seek emergency medical care first, but call your general dentist while you are enroute to seek emergency medical care.
Any serious injury to the jaw, face or teeth may result in a broken lower jaw, which may only be noticeable as a sudden change in your bite, or an inability to chew properly. Again, you should seek emergency medical care first, as well as contacting your general dentist. Your dentist will contact my office to discuss your injuries and coordinate any ortho treatment.