Tooth wax, also called orthodontic wax or dental wax, is a soft material that can be used to temporarily cover sharp surfaces inside your mouth. This helps protect the mouth's soft tissues, such as the gums, lips and lining of the cheeks.
Dental Wax Basics
Dental wax is most often made from paraffin, beeswax or carnauba wax. It's solid at room temperature, but the warmth of your hands will soften it. The softened wax can be applied to sharp areas inside the mouth, where it sticks in place and creates a smooth surface.
The product is clear and unnoticeable when applied. While the wax is usually flavorless, some varieties have added flavors like mint, cherry or bubble gum.
Common Uses of Dental Wax
Dental wax can make a big difference if you have braces. If the braces brackets rub against the inside of your cheeks and cause discomfort, covering the jagged edge with wax can provide relief. Additionally, tooth wax can help when a bracket pops off or a wire comes out of place. If this happens when your orthodontist's office is closed, you could have an uncomfortable, sharp surface in your mouth for a couple days. The wax provides a temporary fix until your orthodontist can fix the broken braces or wires.
Dental wax isn't only used in orthodontia; it can also provide short-term relief for a damaged tooth. You can cover the sharp edges of a chipped or broken tooth with wax while you wait for your dentist appointment.
People who wear partial dentures may sometimes notice discomfort from the metal framework that holds the dentures in place. In these cases, you can coat the irritating parts of the metal framework with dental wax.
Dental wax can help in many cases of dental irritation, but it's just a temporary solution. If you have any sharp surfaces inside your mouth, be sure to see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist can recommend an appropriate treatment and lay out the steps for a long-term resolution.
How to Apply Tooth Wax
Before you apply the wax, remember to brush your teeth and wash your hands. Then, take a small piece of wax (about the size of a pea) and roll it into a ball. Soften the wax in your hands and gently flatten the ball into a disc shape. Carefully place it on the sharp area you want to cover and apply pressure to make it stick. If the wax flakes or peels away, apply more as necessary.
It's safe to continue eating and drinking as normal when using dental wax. The Canadian Association of Orthodontists assures patients not to worry if the dental wax falls off and is accidentally swallowed, as it doesn't contain any harmful chemicals.
If you run out of dental wax, you can purchase more from your local pharmacy. If you're in a pinch, chewing gum can be used as a quick wax substitute.
Tooth wax can be valuable when an unexpected dental issue arises, so it's a good idea to keep some on hand.