Braces are a great thing to have because they bring about beautiful smiles! On occasion, though, they can be a bit of a pain — specifically, when a wire or bracket is poking you in the cheek or tongue. Ouch! Luckily, orthodontists offer a great tool to reduce or eliminate that pain. It’s dental wax.
We know what you’re thinking. Wax for braces? Like the stuff you find in candles? No, it’s not like candle wax. Dental wax — also called braces wax — is specially formulated just for use with braces. It’s designed to be non-toxic and easy to apply. It has several uses for patients with braces and a few uses outside of braces. At Freeman Orthodontics, we’re very familiar with braces wax and its advantages. Let’s look at what you can and can’t do with dental wax.
What Is Braces Wax?
What exactly is dental wax or braces wax? It’s a type of wax made from beeswax, carnauba wax, or paraffin, all of which are non-toxic. Dental wax is specially formulated to be easy to mold and shape. This is important because you need to be able to mold it around braces wires or braces brackets. Usually, it’s colorless and flavorless, but you may be able to find flavored dental wax. Just don’t eat it.
Dental wax is necessary if your cheeks, lips, and tongue are poked or irritated by your braces. This can happen when you first get your braces or if you damage your braces. At the very beginning, the inside of your mouth will need to “toughen up” and get used to your braces. After a couple of weeks, you probably will barely notice your braces. Until that happens, braces wax can serve as a barrier between the bracket that may be bothering you and the area it’s disturbing.
How to Put Wax on Braces
How do you apply braces wax? It’s not as difficult as you may think. The first step is to brush your teeth. The last thing you want to do is trap food particles and plaque against your teeth. Gross, right?
Once your teeth and braces are nice and clean, take these steps to apply your dental wax:
- Wash your hands. You don’t want germs on your hands to end up in your mouth.
- Pinch off a piece of braces wax. Don’t use too much, or you’ll look like a chipmunk with walnuts in your cheeks. You want to pinch off a piece about the size of a pea.
- Roll the braces wax. Roll the wax between your index finger and thumb. This warms it up and makes it soft, making it easier to mold around the bracket or braces wire.
- Place the braces wax. Press the wax lightly over the trouble spot on your braces, then mold the edges around the wire or bracket so it holds well. Don’t push so hard that it gets trapped in the bracket or under your archwire.
- Remove the braces wax. You’ll need to remove the wax to eat or brush your teeth. Simply pull it off with your finger and remove any excess with your toothbrush.
FAQs About Dental Wax
We get a lot of questions about dental wax and how to use it. Let’s look at some of the more common questions we get.
Can you sleep with dental wax on your braces?
Yes! You can sleep with wax on a bracket or wire irritating you. Make sure it’s well secured. It should stay in place just fine.
Can you eat with dental wax on your braces?
It’s possible to eat soft foods (mashed potatoes, pasta, etc.) with braces wax on, but it’s easier to just remove the wax before eating. Otherwise, food particles can get mixed in with the braces wax, or the braces wax can get mixed in with the food. That brings us to a popular question.
Will swallowing the braces wax kill me?
No, it won’t. At some point, you’ll probably accidentally swallow some wax. Remember how we mentioned it was a special non-toxic formula? Yeah, that’s why. So if you do accidentally swallow some, don’t panic. It shouldn’t do you any harm, and your body will get rid of it eventually.
Can you drink with braces wax?
Yes, it’s possible to drink with braces wax. Just don’t be surprised if sodas or coffee discolors it a bit.
How long can you leave dental wax on your braces?
You can leave braces wax on for up to two days, technically. However, you want to remove it to eat, so it’s doubtful it will last that long. Do NOT reuse braces wax because you may have bacteria or food particles trapped in it, and you would be putting it back in your mouth. Sounds nasty, right?
Where can you get dental wax?
We can get you started with dental wax. You can also get dental wax from most pharmacies, retail stores, and online retailers.
Can I keep using the wax instead of visiting the orthodontist?
You can use wax until your next visit if it’s just to cover a bracket that may be irritating you. However, if you break a wire or damage a bracket, you need to call us right away. We may need to bring you in for a repair.
Can I use any other kind of wax?
No. As we stated, dental wax is specially formulated to be non-toxic and to mold easily around brackets and wires. Don’t use candle wax or any other type of wax because that can be toxic and make you very sick.
Other Uses for Dental Wax
Dental wax has other uses in the mouth besides braces. It can also be used for other dental emergencies. For example, if you were to lose a filling, dental wax could fill the hole until you can get to the dentist for a new filling.
Dental wax could also be used on a chipped or cracked tooth. You can cover the tooth with dental wax until a dentist can repair the tooth. Using dental wax will keep the vulnerable interior of the tooth, called the dentin, safe from further damage. Otherwise, the dentin and the pulp it protects could get damaged further, killing the tooth and eventually leading to tooth loss.
It may not hurt to keep a little dental wax handy, just in case you need it.
Dental Wax and Orthodontics
Dental wax is a great tool for braces wearers. It can relieve irritation from those new brackets and wires and save your mouth from being poked by a stray wire. However, it’s not a substitute for braces repair if something is wrong. In that case, you’ll want to visit the orthodontist right away. If you’re in the San Jose, CA, area, Freeman Orthodontics is available for any orthodontic emergencies you may have. Contact us right away if you need your braces checked.