Braces wax, also known as dental wax, is a vital tool in orthodontic treatment. Its primary use is to help when braces wires are poking into the cheek or tongue. But when we give our patients a package of wax, we’re sometimes met with curious looks. Then come the questions! Can I reuse braces wax? How do I apply dental wax? What happens if I accidentally swallow dental wax? Will the wax stick to my braces?
At Appel Orthodontics, we hear these questions often and are here to answer them. We know having braces is a whole new experience for you, and we want to guide you every step of the way. That includes the best ways to use dental wax, whether it’s safe to reuse it, and whether it will solve your orthodontic problems. Here are some tips to get you started.
What Is Braces Wax?
First of all, you’ll see the words “braces wax” and “dental wax” used interchangeably. Braces wax is usually made from paraffin, beeswax, or carnauba wax. While it looks like a solid chunk at room temperature, it softens quickly in your hand and is unnoticeable in use. Whether you have braces or Invisalign, you can use the wax to protect sensitive areas in the mouth by creating a smooth service. It’s perfect for soothing poking wires or irritated gums, lips, or cheek lining.
Braces wax provides comfort if you have a braces wire poking you or if a bracket is irritating parts of your mouth. In some cases, this repetitive irritation leads to canker sores in your mouth, which can be painful. In a nutshell, braces wax reduces that irritation and helps prevent canker sores. It’s not unusual to have some irritation, particularly just after getting your braces. However, if a wire is poking you, that may need to be addressed.
Is Braces Wax Reusable?
Many patients want to know, “can you reuse wax for braces.” But we think the better question is: should you?
Take it from Dr. Appel: No — it’s not a good idea to reuse braces wax. Basically, bacteria can get caught in the wax when you take it out, and you don’t want to put all that back into your mouth. Just grab some at your next appointment or look for “dental wax” or “orthodontic wax” in the toothpaste aisle of any major retailer.
How Do I Use Braces Wax?
It’s pretty easy to apply braces wax. The first step is to wash your hands well so you’re not putting any bacteria or germs into your mouth at the same time. Pull off a small piece of wax, no bigger than the size of a pea. You don’t need a wad of wax the size of a marble to fix the problem. A small piece should solve the problem.
Roll that small, pea-sized piece of wax between your finger and thumb until it’s a small ball. Then place the ball over the offending bracket or wire. Press it gently around the bracket or wire until it’s secure. It should stay put if you apply it correctly.
When you’re ready to eat or drink, remove the braces wax. Depending on where your wax is, you might not have to remove your wax if you’re just taking a few sips of water. But if you do remove your wax to eat or drink, just remember to replace it with a new piece when you’re done. Again, we do not recommend reusing braces wax.
Can I Just Use Any Wax?
Nope! Dental wax is specially formulated to be in your mouth and on your braces. It’s made to stick to the brackets without leaving a lot of residue that can trap food and lead to tooth decay.
In other words, don’t grab some wax from a candle or something and try to apply it to your braces. It won’t work; it’s not safe. Just don’t! You can get braces wax from pharmacies, major retailers, or our office!
Is It Dangerous to Swallow Braces Wax?
We get this one a lot, too. Sometimes, accidents happen, and a piece of wax heads right down the throat. Oops! Luckily it’s actually not that big of a deal because braces wax is nontoxic. That means if you accidentally swallow a small piece, it shouldn’t do you any harm. Now, we don’t recommend you make a snack out of your wax. But if you happen to swallow a piece by accident, you will be fine.
Dental Wax Is for Invisalign, Too!
Dental wax is often used with braces, but Invisalign patients also use it. As with braces, your Invisalign clear aligners may cause a little irritation immediately after getting your first set. It takes some time for your mouth to toughen up, but it will. In the meantime, you can use the dental wax to put a buffer between clear aligners and the area of your gums or cheek that might be irritated. Just remember to remove it when you remove your clear aligners and make sure your Invisalign trays are clean before you put them back into your mouth.
More Wax Questions? We Have Answers!
Appel Orthodontics can answer any other questions you may have about dental wax. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, you can give us a call or schedule an appointment, and we’ll be happy to help you out!