How To Use Dental Wax: The Do’s & Don’ts
Your braces or clear aligners are working to give you the beautiful straight smile you want. But, there may be times where parts of the braces’ brackets, wires, or edge of aligners rub on the soft tissue inside your mouth. If this happens, it is usually during the beginning of your orthodontic treatment or after an adjustment.
But, you don’t have to try and just suffer through it. Dental wax can provide immediate relief and provide you protection against further discomfort. The best part is, you can get it not only from your orthodontist but also at your local drug store and it is extremely affordable.
In this article, we’ll break down exactly what dental wax is and give you the do’s and don’ts of how to use dental wax for braces and other orthodontic appliances. Let’s take a look:
What is Dental Wax Exactly?
Dental wax is a clear pliable material that is made from natural waxes. Many dental wax products are made from carnauba wax or beeswax, while some are made from microcrystalline or paraffin wax that is derived from petroleum. The wax also sometimes contains a few extra modifiers or fillers to make it function better as well as add flavor, like mint for example.
Orthodontic dental wax is a natural, non-toxic product and is safe to have in your mouth. It is entirely normal if you end up accidentally swallowing a little bit of wax if it falls off while speaking, chewing, or sleeping. Doing so will not cause you any harm or sickness.
It also will not harm your braces or clear aligners.
How Does Dental Wax Provide Relief?
Orthodontic braces include metal or clear ceramic brackets that hold metal wires that run across the surface of the teeth. With clear aligners, they are custom molded to fit over the outside of your teeth, running all the way to your back teeth. Sometimes the brackets, the end of the wires, or the edge of the aligners can rub against the soft tissue inside the mouth and cause irritation.
Early on in your treatment, your tongue and cheeks are especially sensitive since they haven’t quite gotten used to the contact of the new things in your mouth yet. Until these areas toughen up, you can use dental wax to provide some relief. You can cover a troublesome bracket, end of a wire, or spot on the aligner as needed to help protect your cheeks, tongue, and lips from abrasions.
The dental wax creates a smooth protective barrier between your mouth and whatever rough or sharp edge is causing the irritation.
The Do’s & Don’ts of Dental Wax
There are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to using dental wax to ensure you are getting the full benefits and maintaining good oral hygiene. These include:
- Do wash up first – It’s important to wash your hands thoroughly before touching the wax to prevent any bacteria from getting into any sores in your mouth.
- Do warm it up first – Roll the piece of wax with your fingers into a ball for about 5 seconds. This will warm it up and make it easier to use.
- Do dry the area first – Before you apply the wax, dry the area off first. The drier the area, the longer the wax will stick.
- Do replace the dental wax as needed – Ideally, it should be replaced twice a day, or when it falls off. This ensures it never has the chance to accumulate too much bacteria.
- Do keep the wax in overnight – The wax is safe to leave in while you are sleeping and will help give your mouth more time to heal any irritations.
- Do check for any other areas – Take the time to regularly check for any other bright red, swollen, or tender areas on the inside of your cheeks or lips. You want to use the wax to help protect any irritated areas before they develop into cuts or become infected.
- Do contact us if pain persists – If you are using the dental wax and the irritation and pain is not getting better, don’t hesitate to contact us right away. We can make the necessary adjustments to provide relief.
- Don’t forget to brush – It is best to brush your teeth before applying any dental wax. This will reduce any bacteria buildup and help remove any food particles that may be stuck where you want to apply wax. It also helps to keep the wax cleaner longer.
- Don’t use too much at once – You only need to use a small bit of wax at a time. A small piece that is about the size of a pea should be sufficient to cover what is causing the irritation. Using too much at once will just cause it to fall off.
- Don’t leave wax in too long – You never want to leave a piece of wax in for more than two days. You also never want to reuse old pieces of wax.
- Don’t leave wax in after eating – If it is too painful to eat without removing the dental wax, make sure to replace the dirty wax after you finish your meal.
- Don’t be alarmed if you swallow wax – The dental wax is non-toxic and will not cause any problems if you swallow it accidentally while sleeping or eating.
- Don’t try and fix dental appliances yourself – Refrain from attempting to bend or repair wires or brackets yourself, as this can inadvertently cause more problems. Give us a call and we can ensure it is taken care of properly.
Take Advantage of the Relief & Protection Dental Wax Offers
While the treatment can sometimes be uncomfortable, especially in the beginning, orthodontic appliances are an essential tool in helping you achieve the straight, confident smile you deserve. At Cook & Gutsche, we strive to make your orthodontic experience as positive and pain-free as possible. Dental wax is an easy-to-use product that can provide immediate relief until your mouth gets used to your new braces or aligners.
If you have any questions about how to use dental wax or want more information, feel free to reach out to us. Our team is here to help!