September 05, 2015
Commonly known as dental or relief wax, orthodontic wax can be a boon for people with braces. For a person newly fitted with braces, there is often some level of discomfort where the brackets rub against the inner cheeks, lips and tongue. Sometimes wires come loose or the clasps might poke or cut the insides of the mouth. All this can cause red spots or blisters due to friction making eating really difficult. In some cases, these sores can become infected if they've been ignored for long. A sore once formed takes more than a week to heal. Orthodontic wax is the solution to these minor but extremely painful sores. Dental wax is also useful for people who have partial dentures.
Some dentists now offer plastic or ceramic braces which are not only less visible but also less abrasive. However, metal brackets are still the most prevalent. Orthodontic wax works by forming a barrier between the irritating metal bracket or wire and the soft tissues of the mouth. This gives the opportunity for the sores and cuts to heal and prevents fresh ones from forming. With time, the inner skin of the mouth toughens and adjusts to the braces and you may no longer need to apply it or may need it less frequently.
Orthodontic wax is generally provided by the orthodontist in the dental care kit when he fits the braces. However, once you run out of it, it is also easily available at pharmacies. It comes in convenient packing and can be carried with you in your handbag to replace when needed. It remains solid at room temperature. It is usually clear so that it is not visible when applied in the mouth.
Dental wax is made from natural substances like paraffin wax and natural wax, beeswax or carnauba wax. It also contains some fillers or modifiers. It is edible and is either tasteless or available in flavors like mint. Often patients are concerned about its safety, especially if it is swallowed inadvertently. As it is meant to be used within the mouth, manufacturers make sure that it is not harmful for human health.
A problem often encountered with ortho wax is the need to reapply it as it begins to flake off. An alternative to orthodontic wax is dental silicone which is available in strips. Some people prefer to use plastic lip guards that fit over the braces. However, orthodontic wax is an inexpensive answer to the problem of poking braces.
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