Emergency Care

Occasionally, some patients will experience an injury to the mouth or have something break during treatment. Dental emergencies while wearing braces or other orthodontic devices generally fall into two categories – emergencies related to your orthodontic appliances, and injuries to your mouth, teeth and gums.

Emergencies Related to Orthodontic Devices

Sometimes, orthodontic devices might be broken or bent during your treatment. If there are any disturbances, such as loose bands, loose brackets, broken or poking wires, or ill-fitting devices please call our office for an appointment during patient hours. For your convenience and the convenience of scheduled patients, it is not possible to handle emergencies on a walk in basis. In the meantime, here are some helpful hints to remedy some of the problems you may encounter until our office can see you as well as some guidelines on what can wait until the next available appointment and what is a true emergency which requires paging the doctor after hours or on weekends.

  • If some part of your orthodontic device is irritating your mouth, cover it with the wax we provided with your braces kit or try to push it out of the way with a blunt soft object like a pencil eraser or Q-tip. Wax can also be purchased at your local drug store – if it is not in the dental section check the ear section for pliable wax or silicon ear plugs.
  • Broken or loose devices or braces that are not causing pain are not an emergency and can generally be left in place until we can get you in to have them repaired or replaced. Please call our office as soon as you are aware that something is not right. If it is after hours or a weekend please leave a message in our general mailbox and we will call you when we are back in the office to answer any questions you might have and schedule an appointment to get you fixed up if need be.
  • If your orthodontic devices are causing pain which is severe enough that you cannot wait until the next business day to be seen, please call us immediately so we can get you in. If it is after hours or the weekend, follow the instruction on our answering machine and the system will forward your call on to either Dr. Osterman, one of our clinical staff, or a doctor who is on call for Dr. Osterman. If you are forwarded to a voicemail box , please don’t forget to leave your phone number on the message!  Your call will be returned as soon as possible.
  • Watch this video on YouTube that explains how to handle an orthodontic emergency:

Direct Injuries to The Mouth & Teeth

Following a direct injury to your mouth or teeth, whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, immediately ice the injured area and you should contact your regular dentist as soon as possible. Usually an x-ray of the involved tooth or teeth is needed to determine the extent of injury. If a tooth has been displaced, knocked out, or fractured, it is best to contact your family dentist first, since we may not have the necessary materials or anesthesia required to treat these injuries. If the appliances are dislodged or displaced, we will need to replace or adjust the appliances as soon as possible, after you have seen your general dentist.

After Office Hours

If an orthodontic emergency arises after hours and the patient is in severe pain and cannot wait until the next business day to be seen, please call our main number (925-283-1921).  Follow the prompts which ask if you require immediate assistance. You will then be instructed to press a number on your phone which will forward you on to someone who is on call for the office. If you are forwarded on to a voice mail box, please leave your name, the patient’s name and the best contact number and someone from our office or someone who is on call during that time will return your call as soon as possible.