What Is Orthodontic Wax and Do I Need It for My Child?

If your child needs braces, your orthodontist will provide orthodontic wax to help the braces feel more comfortable. But what is orthodontic wax, and how important is it for their treatment? Continue reading to learn more about this orthodontic aid.

When you have orthodontic treatment, especially classic metal and ceramic braces, the brackets (or braces) may rub against the inside of your lips, cheeks, or tongue. Although this discomfort usually fades as your mouth adjusts to the new sensations, some people may feel slight pain and require orthodontic wax to alleviate it.

How does orthodontic wax work?

Between your braces and your lips, cheeks, or tongue, orthodontic wax functions as a barrier. It’s an opaque material that turns soft and flexible when applied to the troublesome bracket, allowing it to be wrapped around it to keep it from bothering your cheek.

When should orthodontic wax be used?

Wax should be used as a temporary pain reliever. Your soft tissues toughen up as you become acclimated to the sensation of braces in your mouth, creating a barrier to the rubbing.

What is the best way to apply wax on braces?

The wax is constructed of a hydrophobic (or water resistant) substance. As a result, you must adequately prepare your mouth for the application of the wax.

Your orthodontist can teach you how to use orthodontic wax to keep your braces from rubbing. Some general guidelines for applying orthodontic wax are as follows:

• Before touching or applying the wax, properly wash your hands.

• Brush your teeth and remove any food particles from your braces.

• Figure out which bracket is bothering you.

• Orthodontic wax is usually in the form of a stick. You’ll need to pinch off a small piece with your fingers (roughly the size of a pea). Make sure to take a sufficient amount of wax – it should be large enough to cover the bracket and molded above and below it. The wax will not stick if the piece is too small.

• At first, the wax will be hard. Before you apply it, roll it between your fingers to soften it up a bit.

• Flatten the ball of wax slightly, then gently press it against the rubbing or uncomfortable area of your braces.

(A tissue paper or a cotton ball can be used to completely dry the bracket and surrounding area; if there is any moisture, the wax may not stick to the bracket.)

Can I use wax while sleeping?

Yes, wax can be used before going to sleep at night. You could find that applying wax to places that are bothering you can help you sleep better.

What happens if a small amount of wax is swallowed?

While we don’t encourage munching on your supply, ingesting a tiny bit is common and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. The wax is non-toxic and will pass through your system without causing any discomfort.

Is it possible to use wax with clear aligners (like Invisalign)?

Absolutely. While clear aligners are less likely to cause irritation to the interior of your mouth and gums than traditional braces, a piece of dental wax should alleviate any pain or discomfort. In the method mentioned above, gently press the wax to the troublesome area.

Is there a substitute for orthodontic wax?

If you’re having trouble with your braces but don’t have any wax, there are some temporary alternatives you can try. A tiny amount of sugar-free chewing gum rolled into a small ball and applied in the same way as conventional wax can be useful, but it should only be used as a temporary treatment. In the long run, wax and chewing gum are not the same.

Other factors to consider

As you eat and speak, you may need to reapply your orthodontic wax throughout the day. If you’re worried about ingesting it, don’t be. It’s very safe.

Rinsing your mouth with salt water at least once a day can also help the irritated area of your mouth recover and avoid ulcers. This will also assist your mouth in adjusting to the treatment.

Whether your child needs orthodontic wax will likely depend on their amount of discomfort, but you may ask your orthodontist for further information. The discomfort usually goes away in a day or two as the cheek begins to heal.

Where can I purchase wax for braces?

When you get braces, your orthodontist will usually give you orthodontic wax, and you can get more from them at your regular appointments.

Orthodontic wax can usually be found in the oral care area of your local pharmacy. Orthodontic wax is also available in bulk volumes on the internet.

When you have braces, having orthodontic wax on hand is really useful. It’s a simple and efficient way to keep your mouth safe.

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