What Is Orthodontic Wax?

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Are You Feeling Discomfort Because of Your Braces? Try Using Orthodontic Wax

Through the early days of wearing braces or the first few days after your repeated adjustments, you could experience some pain and discomfort. This soreness and swelling usually subside after a few days, but if it persists or gets unbearable, you might be at a loss over what exactly to do about it.

Though we have a general guide to relieving pain with braces, we thought it would be helpful to create a more in-depth overview of one of the most common orthodontist-provided pain remedies: orthodontic braces wax. Keep reading for a comprehensive guide of what exactly it is, how to use it properly, and whether or not it presents any possible health risks.

How Does Orthodontic Wax Work?

Orthodontic braces wax is commonly made from paraffin, beeswax, or carnauba wax, which are all analgesic substances that naturally promote pain relief when topically applied. It’s usually flavorless, unless advertised, and solid at room temperature; if it’s warmer or cooler than that though, it’s not the end of the world, as the natural warmth of your hands should sufficiently soften it.

Not only will this wax ease pain, but hold damaged brackets or wires in place until you can get the appliance fixed at an emergency orthodontic repair appointment. The warmth will allow the wax to apply seamlessly. To use and apply orthodontic wax properly, you should:

  • Dry your braces off with tissue after your oral hygiene routine and before wax application (dryness will help the wax bond longer)
  • Roll a small piece of wax into a ball shape for a minimum of five seconds, ideally the size of a pea or popcorn kernel
  • Press the ball over the affected area, and massage it in a few times to apply properly
  • Replace the braces wax at least twice a day, or when it starts to come off
  • Never leave the same wax on for over two days, as it can absorb food particles and accumulate plaque
  • Refrain from eating or drinking with the orthodontic wax in your mouth

Is Orthodontic Wax Safe to Swallow?

If you accidentally swallow their orthodontic wax — don’t worry! Orthodontic braces wax is non-toxic and completely safe for consumption! That doesn’t mean you should go to town on a salve of wax though, obviously. This should all go without saying, but orthodontic wax isn’t exactly a high source of nutrition, nor a high source of satisfying taste. If you’re looking for some braces-friendly foods, check out our guide and what to eat (and what not to eat) with braces.

Is Orthodontic Wax Gluten Free?

If you suffer from a condition like a dairy allergy or Celiac Disease, could braces wax trigger an adverse reaction? The short answer is no — most orthodontic waxes are gluten and dairy-free, and they’ve rarely been associated with adverse reactions.

These gluten and dairy-free options are usually advertised by the manufacturer, but there may be additional ingredients to be mindful of in the label’s fine print. As you would with most products, evaluate those labels carefully, as well as reviews from others who’ve used orthodontic wax. If worst comes to worst, ask your orthodontist for guidance on selecting the right orthodontic wax for your situation.

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Does Orthodontic Wax Expire?

Fortunately, most wax products do not have a set “expiration” date. If stored properly, they can retain their benefits for over 10 years or more. However, orthodontic wax can harden and lose bonding properties if left out over time, so store it properly, and don’t leave your wax container opened when not in use.

Where Can I Buy Orthodontic Wax?

You can obtain orthodontic braces wax online, over the counter at your local pharmacy, or directly from your orthodontist. Orthodontic wax strips are relatively low cost, no matter where you get them.

We wouldn’t consider the difference between getting them from an orthodontist and getting them OTC as vast a difference as buying a stock occlusal guard versus a custom-fit one. Even so, we would still recommend obtaining it through an orthodontist.

An experienced licensed orthodontist will have the expertise to pinpoint the safest and most suitable type of orthodontic braces wax for you. Not only will you be able to have that additional support, but additionally save a few dollars in the process.

In general, it’s always best to promptly ask your orthodontist for any questions, support, or input related to oral health and seek their assistance for orthodontic emergencies ASAP. Before you head to the office though, apply that braces wax!