If you have braces, you know how painful and uncomfortable it can be when the brackets and wires irritate your gums, lips, and tongue. That’s where dental wax comes in. It’s a lifesaver for many people with braces, as it creates a barrier between the brackets and your sensitive oral tissues.
However, you might be allergic to beeswax, a key ingredient in the wax, or other ingredients such as flavorings or colorants, meaning that you can’t use it. You might also run out of the product, causing you to seek an alternative as an emergency.
Moreover, dental wax isn’t perfect. It can be messy, hard to apply, and doesn’t always stay in place.
If you’re looking for an alternative to dental wax for braces, here are some options to consider:
1. Orthodontic silicone
Orthodontic silicone is a newer alternative to dental wax that many people find more comfortable and easier to use. It’s a clear, flexible silicone that you apply directly to your brackets and wires. Unlike wax, silicone won’t melt or break down in your mouth, and it won’t leave a residue on your teeth. It’s also more durable than wax and can last for several days before needing to be replaced.
Here are some reasons to consider orthodontic silicone:
- It is made of medical-grade silicone, which makes it more durable and longer-lasting than wax.
- It is hypoallergenic, which means it is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction in most people.
- It can be easily molded to fit around brackets and wires
- It is clear and nearly invisible when applied, which can be more aesthetically pleasing for patients who may feel self-conscious about the visible wax.
- It can be easily removed with warm water and soap, making it a convenient and easy-to-use option for patients.
However, it is important to note that orthodontic silicone may not be suitable for all patients. Some people may have a sensitivity to silicone, which can cause an allergic reaction. It is also more expensive than traditional dental wax, which may be a factor for some patients.
2. Orthodontic relief wax strips
Orthodontic relief wax strips are pre-cut pieces of wax that you can stick onto your brackets and wires. They’re easier to apply than traditional dental wax, and they come in different shapes and sizes to fit your needs. Some brands even offer flavored wax strips, which can be a fun way to make wearing braces a little more enjoyable.
Here are some reasons to consider orthodontic relief wax strips:
- The strips come pre-cut in small, easy-to-use strips that can be applied directly to brackets, wires, and other orthodontic appliances
- Unlike traditional wax, orthodontic relief wax strips are made from a soft, flexible material that adheres well to appliances and stays in place longer.
- The strips are also more discreet than traditional wax, making them a popular choice for people who are self-conscious about their braces.
- They are usually made with natural ingredients and do not contain any artificial colors or flavors. This makes them a great option for people with allergies or sensitivities to certain chemicals or substances.
One potential downside of using orthodontic relief wax strips is that they can be more expensive than traditional wax. However, many people find that the convenience and effectiveness of these strips make them well worth the cost.
3. Lip protectors
Unlike dental wax, which is applied directly to the brackets or wires of the appliance, lip protectors are designed to be worn on the lips and provide a cushion between the appliance and the lips.
Lip protectors are typically made of soft, flexible silicone material that conforms to the contours of the lips. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit different mouth shapes and appliance types. Some lip protectors are designed to cover just the upper or lower lip, while others cover both.
The main advantage of lip protectors over dental wax is that they do not need to be reapplied as frequently. Dental wax can become dislodged or worn away with talking, eating, and brushing, but lip protectors remain in place as long as they are properly fitted.
This means that people who wear lip protectors can go about their daily activities without having to worry about the discomfort or embarrassment of lost or dislodged dental wax.
Another advantage of lip protectors is that they are less visible than dental wax. Since they are worn on the lips rather than directly on the appliance, they blend in more naturally with the mouth and are less noticeable to others.
Like any orthodontic appliance, lip protectors may take some getting used to, and some people may find them uncomfortable at first. However, with proper fitting and regular use, lip protectors can provide a comfortable and effective alternative to dental wax for many people.
It is important to note that while lip protectors are generally considered safe and effective, they may not be suitable for everyone, including:
- People with latex allergies or other sensitivities to silicone
- People with certain types of orthodontic appliances or those with severe malocclusions or other dental conditions
As with any orthodontic treatment, it is important to discuss the use of lip protectors with your orthodontist to determine if they are a suitable option for your individual needs.
4. Coconut oil
Believe it or not, coconut oil can also be used as an organic, non-toxic alternative to dental wax for braces. Simply take a small amount of coconut oil, warm it between your fingers to make it more pliable, and then apply it to your brackets and wires that are causing discomfort with a cotton swab. But first, you need to ensure that your teeth and braces are clean and dry.
Coconut oil has antibacterial properties, which can help keep your mouth healthy, and it’s also a natural lubricant, which can reduce friction between your brackets and your gums.
Here are some benefits of coconut oil to protect your tender gums and soft tissues from braces:
- It’s an all-natural, organic and non-toxic material that won’t harm your body
- Has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which make it an excellent option for alleviating the discomfort and pain caused by braces.
- It is also easily accessible, affordable, and can be found in most grocery stores.
- Has a pleasant taste and smell, making it a more agreeable option than traditional orthodontic wax.
However, it is important to note that coconut oil may not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with coconut allergies should avoid using this option. Also, coconut oil can melt in warm temperatures, making it less effective as a substitute for wax.
5. Sugar-free gum
Sugar-free gum can be a viable alternative to dental wax for mild cases of bracket irritation. Gum can help create a barrier between the brackets and the oral mucosa, reducing friction and irritation. It also helps to stimulate saliva production, which can help neutralize acids in the mouth and promote oral health.
However, it is important to note that not all types of gum are suitable for this purpose. Sugar-free gum is recommended because it does not contain sugar or other sticky substances that can adhere to the brackets and wires. Additionally, it is important to avoid chewing gum that is too hard or sticky, as this can cause damage to the brackets and wires.
When using sugar-free gum as an alternative to dental wax, it is important to remove the gum before eating or brushing your teeth. It should also be replaced frequently throughout the day to ensure maximum effectiveness.
While sugar-free gum can be effective for mild cases of bracket irritation, it may not be sufficient for more severe cases. If you are experiencing significant discomfort or pain, it is important to consult with your orthodontist to determine the best course of treatment.
6. Saltwater rinse
If your braces are causing a lot of pain and irritation, a saltwater rinse can be a great way to soothe your mouth. Simply mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water and swish the mixture around in your mouth for a minute or two, then spit it out. You can use this rinse several times a day to help alleviate pain and soreness caused by braces.
Saltwater rinses are particularly helpful for reducing inflammation and swelling that can occur when braces are first applied or after adjustments. They can also help relieve pain caused by mouth ulcers or sores that sometimes develop when wearing braces. Additionally, saltwater rinses can help maintain good oral hygiene by reducing bacteria in the mouth, all of which can make wearing braces a little more comfortable.
Here are some reasons to consider a saltwater rinse:
- It is a natural alternative to dental wax that can help relieve the discomfort and pain caused by braces.
- It is a natural antiseptic that helps reduce inflammation, prevents infection and soothes irritated gums and oral tissues.
- It is also inexpensive and easy to make at home.
While saltwater rinses can be an effective alternative to dental wax, they do not provide the same level of protection against braces-related injuries or irritation as wax does. Therefore, it’s important to consult with your orthodontist before using saltwater rinses as a substitute for wax.
Can you use candle wax or cheese wax as an alternative to dental wax?
It is not recommended to use alternative waxes such as candle wax, cheese wax, or silicone wax in place of dental wax for braces. These alternative waxes may not be safe for oral use, and could potentially cause harm to the mouth.
- Candle wax is made from a variety of substances including paraffin wax, beeswax, and soy wax, which are not designed for oral use and could potentially contain harmful chemicals that can cause irritation or damage to the mouth.
- Cheese wax, on the other hand, is a food-grade wax used to preserve cheese. While it is generally safe for consumption, it is not recommended to use it as dental wax. Cheese wax is not designed to be pliable and may not adhere properly to braces, leading to discomfort or injury.
- Silicone wax is a type of mold-making material used in the dental industry, but it is not intended to be used as dental wax. While it is non-toxic and safe for oral use, it may not provide the same level of relief as dental wax and may not adhere properly to braces.
It is important to use only products that are specifically designed and intended for oral use. Alternative waxes may seem like a quick and easy solution, but they could potentially cause more harm than good. Stick to using orthodontic relief wax or other recommended alternatives for braces.
In conclusion, dental wax is a tried-and-true solution for maximizing comfort when wearing braces. However, it’s not the only option out there. There are several effective alternatives to traditional dental wax as discussed above. Give each one a try to see which works best for you and your unique needs.