Learning how to use wax for braces can help you minimize discomfort and pain from wire pokes, but if you don’t do it correctly, you can end up with more problems than you started with!
Below, we’ve got everything you need to learn how to use wax for braces, plus more tips and tricks for reducing braces pain and discomfort so that your experience with braces is completely successful.
WHAT IS DENTAL WAX AND WHY SHOULD I USE IT?
Dental wax is a non-toxic, waterproof wax that’s designed for use inside your mouth. It’s usually made from some combination of beeswax, carnauba wax, or paraffin. Because it’s hard at room temperature but softens in your fingers, it’s an excellent option for protecting your lips, gums, tongue, and the inside of your cheeks from your braces.
Dental wax can also be known as tooth wax or orthodontic wax, and it’s easy to find at most local drugstores. You can also talk to your orthodontist or dentist about where to find it--often, he or she will supply you with samples during your office visit.
You can find dental wax in a variety of flavors, like bubble gum or mint, or you can find it free of flavors. Either way, it’s a must-have for anybody dealing with braces--especially first-timers!
HOW DO I APPLY DENTAL WAX?
To learn how to use wax for braces, you first need to know how to apply it. First, wash your hands and clean your teeth thoroughly. Applying wax over plaque or debris can cause decay, which you don’t want!
Next, identify the places in your mouth where your braces and wires are rubbing your cheek lining or gums. Then, try to pat dry those places with a towel or hold your mouth open for a few moments so they can dry (the wax will adhere better to a dry mouth then a wet one).
Next, remove a small amount of wax--less than a pea-sized amount--and soften in gently in your hands till it forms a soft lens-like shape. Gently press this shape onto the part of the braces that you’ve already identified as being a problem. The wax will stick to the braces, and you’ll experience greater comfort immediately.
FAQS ABOUT DENTAL WAX
People often have questions about dental wax--here are some of the most common.
IS DENTAL WAX SAFE TO SWALLOW?
Yes, dental wax is safe to swallow. Manufacturers anticipate that a certain portion of it will be swallowed when it’s used and so it’s made with non-toxic ingredients.
CAN YOU EAT WITH WAX ON YOUR BRACES?
Yes, you can eat with wax on your braces, but it can get messy, and you will need to replace the wax after eating since it will be full of food. It might also fall off while you’re eating. Ideally, you should remove wax while you eat (you can replace it as soon as you’re finished eating and you’ve brushed your teeth again).
However, sometimes it’s just too painful to remove the wax, and in that case, you can do your best to chew without knocking off the wax, and replace the wax later!
CAN YOU SLEEP WITH WAX ON YOUR BRACES?
Yes, you should sleep with wax on your braces. This is the perfect time to use wax to keep your braces from poking or rubbing raw spots on your mouth. Be aware that your saliva might cause the wax to unstick, but the wax is non-toxic, so it’s safe to swallow.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU SWALLOW WAX FOR YOUR BRACES?
Dental wax is non-toxic and safe to swallow. Because saliva causes it to become less sticky, it can fall off your braces on its own. If you’re concerned about this, make sure you check and replace your wax regularly.
HOW CAN I STOP MY BRACES FROM CUTTING MY MOUTH
Dental wax is designed to keep your braces from cutting your mouth. It’s non-toxic and yielding and acts as a protective barrier on sharp brackets or wires that are rubbing, poking, or cutting your mouth. It’s inexpensive and easy to use, and you can get it from your dentist or orthodontist or at your local drugstore.
OTHER COMMON USES FOR DENTAL WAX
Dental wax is most often used to protect the inside of your mouth from your braces--especially when you’ve just gotten braces, and you’re still getting used to them. But that’s not the only use for dental wax!
If you’ve popped a bracket or a wire and can’t get to your orthodontist immediately, dental wax can be a huge help. You can use it to soften the edges of the loose wires or brackets so that they don’t seriously hurt your mouth. If, say, it’s a weekend or a holiday, and you won’t be able to get into your dentist for several days, dental wax can be a lifesaver!
Dental wax can also be used to help with a broken or jagged tooth while you’re waiting to get it fixed, and it’s used for people who wear partial dentures. In these cases, however, dental wax should just be used until you can get in to see your dentist--it’s not a permanent solution.
HOW TO REMOVE DENTAL WAX
Sometimes you can remove dental wax with your fingers--simply lift it off the bracket. If it’s especially sticky, you can try to use floss or an interdental stick to remove the excess. If there’s just a tiny bit of residue, you can use a toothbrush to try to get everything off.
HOW LONG SHOULD I LEAVE DENTAL WAX ON?
You should replace dental wax daily and make sure you clean your teeth thoroughly between each application.
CAN I REUSE MY DENTAL WAX?
Sometimes wax can be reused once or twice, but dentists don’t recommend it unless you’re in a pinch since it can pick up plaque and germs. It’s inexpensive and easy to replace with fresh wax, however, so there’s almost no reason to reuse it anyways!
BEST DENTAL WAX OPTIONS FOR BRACES
Most of the dental product brands you’re already familiar with (G-U-M and Colgate, for example) also sell dental wax, and the good news is that wax is mostly the same across brands. Look for wax that comes in a convenient carrying case that seals well and look for wax that comes in a flavor you like--or no flavor at all, if that’s your preference.
ARE YOUR BRACES STILL BOTHERING YOU? HERE ARE THREE MORE TIPS TO HELP WITH THE PAIN!
Learning how to use wax for braces can help tremendously when it comes to managing the inevitable pain and discomfort that braces bring; here are a few more tips you’ll love. You can use any of these along with dental wax for maximum pain relief!
1. USE AN ORAL ANESTHETIC OR AN OVER THE COUNTER PAIN RELIEVER
You can use something like ibuprofen or Tylenol to help with pain in your jaw and teeth, or you can use an oral anesthetic to help numb the parts in your mouth that are sore. Two popular oral anesthetics are Anbesol and Orajel. Both taste gross but can be very helpful, especially if you’ve just gotten your braces or they’ve been recently tightened.
2. DRINK OR EAT SOMETHING COLD
Eating or drinking something cold--like ice water or frozen yogurt--can relieve inflammation in gums and jaw, easing your pain and helping you feel better. Just make sure that whatever you’re eating isn’t hard or sticky--chewing on ice, for example, can pop your brackets or cause further pain.
Soft foods, even if they’re not cold, can be a huge help, too. You might even find that’s all you want to eat for the first few days, and that’s ok!
3. TRY AN ICE PACK
Cold foods can help ease the pain inside your mouth, but so can an ice pack! You can use ice wrapped in a washcloth or a gel ice pack; even a bag of frozen veggies will work in a pinch. Hold the ice against your jaw and mouth gently until it becomes too cold, and repeat as often as necessary. You should feel immediate relief.
Make sure, however, that you’re using dental wax to protect your mouth, as the extra pressure from the ice pack can cause extra harm.
Learning how to use wax for braces can save you tons of pain and discomfort. And when it comes to getting braces for the first time--or getting used to them--managing your pain is a game changer. Hopefully, we’ve answered all your questions about how to use wax for braces, and you’re all set--here’s to quick relief!