If you or your child has braces, keep a package of dental wax—also called orthodontic wax and tooth wax—to keep at home. Your orthodontist may provide it, and it’s easy to find in most pharmacies. Here’s some basic information about using dental wax on braces.
What Is Dental Wax Used for with Braces?
Using dental wax on braces is one of the standard home remedies for common problems with braces. It’s useful for putting over brackets or protruding wires that are causing discomfort, pain, irritation, and possibly even mouth injuries or sores. Many patients find it especially helpful during the first week or so of wearing braces. Orthodontic wax is also good for securing a loose or broken bracket until you can get into the orthodontist’s office for a fix.
What Exactly Is Orthodontic Wax?
Most tooth wax is made from beeswax, parrafin (petroleum-derived) wax, or carnauba wax. It’s solid, but softens from the heat of your fingers enough to mold. It adheres to the braces and creates a smooth surface over them, protecting the soft tissue of the mouth and tongue from an abrasive surface or pokey wire. Many products are tasteless, but some have added flavoring, like mint. Most dental waxes are almost transparent and very hard to notice.
Is Using Dental Wax on Braces Safe?
Yes! That’s one of the main things it’s made for. The wax is natural and nontoxic, and it’s perfectly normal and safe to swallow a little bit. You can safely use it for as long or as many times as needed (but read on to make sure you replace individual pieces often enough).
How Do You Apply Tooth Wax?
Dental wax is very easy to use. First, wash your hands and brush your teeth. Dry the area of braces where you’ll be applying the wax by dabbing it with a clean cloth or paper towel. Pull off a piece of wax about the size of a pea and roll it into a ball with your fingers, then pinch it to flatten it slightly. Then, gently press it over the area of your braces that’s causing the problem.
How Do You Remove Dental Wax?
Simply peel it off with your fingertips. If you’re having a hard time, you can also do it carefully with a toothpick.
How Long Do You Use the Same Piece of Wax?
In general, replace dental wax at least twice per day; never keep the same piece in your mouth for more than about a day, as food particles and bacteria gradually build up on it. It’s also time to replace it if it stops adhering well. It’s also a good idea to replace it when eating, which brings us to…
Can You Eat and Drink with Dental Wax on Your Braces?
You can, but it’s preferable not to. Food and beverages can loosen or dislodge the wax. Again, it’s perfectly fine if you swallow it, but you might as well peel it off, eat and drink, then brush your teeth and stick on a fresh piece of tooth wax.
Can You Sleep with Orthodontic Wax on Your Braces?
If it will help prevent irritation and sores in your mouth, yes, you can keep the wax on overnight.