Imagine you are relaxing on a Saturday night, and all of a sudden you feel something sharp impinging on your cheeks. You rush to the mirror, open your mouth, and see that your orthodontic wire has broken and its sharp edge is touching your cheeks – hence the irritation. What to do in this case? Naturally, it would be hard to visit your orthodontist now. So, what to do now? Don’t worry, the orthodontic wax comes to your relief.
The orthodontic wax, is a soft, harmless protective material which is used for protecting teeth and gums for individuals who are wearing braces For orthodontic patients, orthodontic wax is nothing short of a blessing, as it comes in handy in preventing injury to the gums, cheeks and the lips – if there is a broken orthodontic wire or a lose bracket which impinges on the oral tissues.
Continue reading to find out more about orthodontic wax, why it is used, and how to use it.
What is Orthodontic Wax Made of?
The orthodontic wax is mostly composed of natural waxes. However, their constituents may vary according to different brands. Some dental waxes contains carnauba wax and beeswax, while others may contain paraffin wax. Also, wax manufacturers add various modifiers to give a pleasant taste and smell to increase their acceptability. Orthodontic waxes also come in different colours.
When is an Orthodontic Wax Needed?
You may require an orthodontic wax in the following cases:
- The NHS recommends using orthodontic wax for protection when a broken orthodontic wire, retainer which impinges on the cheeks or gums
- A sharp edge of a chipped or fractured tooth
- The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using orthodontic wax to prevent impingement againts the sharp edge of a removable denture.
- A removable aligner which is causing discomfort or irritation over the gums
Is Orthodontic Wax Safe to Swallow?
The orthodontic wax is absolutely harmless and safe for use in the oral cavity. In fact, the Canadian Association of Orthodontists suggests that it is absolutely normal it someone accidentally eats, or swallows a little wax in case it falls off from the bracket or tooth during eating or speech.
How Does Orthodontic Wax Work?
The orthodontic waxes are specifically designed to be solids at room temperature. However, when you hold the wax, the warmth of your hands and fingers will melt it so that you can easily mold it around an orthodontic wire, bracket, or a sharp edge of a chipped tooth to prevent accidental injury. The orthodontic wax also contains small quantities of sticky natural waxes which allows it to adhere to the tooth or bracket for some time – while you book an appointment with your orthodontist to get the problem fixed.
How do you Use Orthodontic Wax?
Whether you are using orthodontic wax for protecting your gums from new braces or aligners, or you have a sharp edge from a broken tooth, the procedure to use the wax is the same. Here’s how The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends using the orthodontic wax:
- Wash your Hands – applying the wax on your teeth with dirty hands will affects its adherence to the bracket or wire, causing it to fall off very quickly.
- Brush your Teeth – thoroughly clean the tooth surface which you want to protect. The cleaner the tooth, the better will be the attachment of the wax to it.
- Melting and Shaping – next, hold a piece of wax in your fingers. You will feel that as soon as you hold it, it starts to soften. Now, role it into the shape of a ball and flatten it slightly.
- Apply Orthodontic Wax – finally, apply the wax gently on the problem area and make sure it sticks. Don’t apply too much pressure as it may result in excessive thinning of the wax, and defeat the purpose. If the wax keeps falling, remove the wax and replace it with fresh wax.
Can you Use Orthodontic Wax with Invisalign?
Orthodontic waxes can be used with any orthodontic appliance. Some people feel irritation or discomfort around the gums when they wear the Invisalign removable aligners for the first time. However, as they get used to their new appliance, the irritation goes away. While you are getting accustomed to your new aligners, there is no harm in using an orthodontic wax to reduce the discomfort.
Can you Sleep with Orthodontic Wax?
The orthodontic wax does not contain any harmful or toxic ingredients. Therefore, you can place it in your mouth while sleeping. However, please note that the orthodontic wax is just a temporary solution. If you have a chipped tooth or a damaged denture which is creating discomfort, it must be treated immediately by your orthodontist. You can use the orthodontic wax while you wait for your dentist’s appointment.
For those who have been wearing braces or removable aligners, they would already be familiar with the dental wax. However, if you are thinking about getting braces, then getting familiar with the orthodontic wax will help you in making your orthodontic treatment a comfortable experience – as orthodontic wax will become a part of your orthodontic treatment journey.
If you are looking for an orthodontic clinic which not only gives you a charming, beautiful smile, but also restores optimal functionality of your teeth and gums, then 128 Harley Street Dental Suite should be your first choice. Our qualified and highly experienced dental team will ensure than you get the best and highest quality treatment in town. Not only this, if you visit our website here, you will become entitled to a free virtual consultation and cost estimation by our orthodontists.
So, book an appointment today and take your first step towards a beautiful and lasting smile and perfect oral health.
Dr. Stefan Abela
BChD, MFDS, RCS Eng, MSc, MORTH RCS Ed, AHEA, FDS Orth RCS Ed
Stefan is a Consultant in Orthodontics at one of the most prestigious London teaching hospitals; Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust.
Stefan is also a specialist in Orthodontics and is registered on the General Dental Council (GDC) specialist list. Stefan qualified as a dental surgeon in 2003 and underwent further training in various specialties including restorative dentistry, paediatric dentistry, oral medicine and complex oral and maxillofacial surgery including the management of facial trauma.