Dental wax is a soft, harmless gum protector for children and adults with braces that can be used in a pinch to cover brackets and protruding wires with a smooth surface. When the scratchy, uncomfortable feeling of new braces becomes too much, dental wax comes to the rescue. When a bracket or wire breaks or becomes dislodged, applying a lump of wax can prevent painful wires poking into your gums while you wait for an appointment with the orthodontist. It's there to help you through the rough patches!
What Is Wax for Braces Made From?
Dental wax contains a few modifiers for taste and texture, but it's mostly made from natural waxes. Some dental wax products are made from beeswax or carnauba wax, while others are made from paraffin, according to Carmel Industries. In fact, according to the Canadian Association of Orthodontists, it's entirely normal for patients to accidentally eat a little wax if it falls off while speaking or chewing. Dental wax is clear and it's often flavorless, though some varieties are flavored with mint or other ingredients.
How Does Dental Wax Work?
The special properties of dental wax make it perfect for protecting your gums from the metal edges of braces. The wax is solid at room temperature, but can be softened and shaped by the warmth of your hands. Smoothed onto braces, it sticks to them and creates a buffer between the brackets and the gums. Dental wax remains smooth while in the mouth, and harmlessly flakes away or peels off as it breaks down.
How to Apply Wax for Braces
Whether you're protecting your gums from new braces or sticking down a piece of protruding wire, the procedure for applying dental wax is the same, the American Association of Orthodontists explains:
- Wash your hands
- Brush your teeth where you want to apply the wax
- Pinch off a piece of wax about the size of a small pea
- Squeeze until it softens and roll it into a ball, then flatten the ball slightly
- Gently push the wax onto the problem area of the braces
If you run out of dental wax, you can buy more at a pharmacy. To remove it, you can use an interdental stick or floss, but take care not to damage your braces or gums.
Caring for Braces and Dental Wax
You can brush your teeth as normal while dental wax is on your braces, but use a toothbrush that cleans the hard-to-reach areas of the mouth, like the Colgate 360° Total Floss-Tip Bristles toothbrush. Brush twice per day, taking care not to remove the wax, and use your interdental brush to clean between teeth. Rinsing with a mouthwash once per day also helps prevent dental decay while wearing braces.
Braces are a fact of life for most people who want straight, even teeth. It's reassuring to know that dental wax is available to help transition from that temporary phase of discomfort some patients experience as they adjust to their new braces. If you aren't confident about how to apply dental wax, ask your orthodontist to show you.