When you have your braces fitted, your orthodontist will typically give you some orthodontic wax to take home. New braces may rub against the soft tissues in your mouth, making them sore, but you can use this wax to cushion areas that hurt your mouth until it gets used to the braces.
Wax may also help if you break your braces and end up with a sharp bit poking in your lips or cheeks, giving you some protection until you can have the braces fixed. Sometimes, you may run out of wax just when you need it. If you can't get hold of any, you may find emergency fixes in your home.
You may have other waxes at home that can do much the same job as an orthodontic wax, giving you some short-term pain relief until you can buy wax or see your orthodontist. For example, the following options may work:
- Candle wax: If you have candles at home, break off a small piece of wax. Use your fingers to roll it into a ball around the size of a small pea. When the wax is warm and malleable, put it on the area of the brace that is causing the problem.
- Cheese wax: If you have cheese in the fridge that is covered in wax, you can use a small piece of the coating as an alternative to orthodontic wax, according to Healthdirect Australia. Again, you should roll the wax to warm and shape it.
- Silicon wax: If you have silicon earplugs handy, you can also use those to cover a sharp brace edge. Break or cut off a small piece from the earplug and place it on the brace.
Although your orthodontist is likely to have told you never to eat chewing gum with your braces in, gum can be a useful emergency alternative to wax. It's best to use sticks of gum, which are easier to mould than gums with a hard coating. You should also use sugar-free gum if possible, as gum with sugar is not good for your teeth.
Break the gum into pieces and mould them in balls. If the gum breaks rather than shapes, you may need to wet it. Put the gum in your mouth and suck it for a few seconds. This should allow you to mould it. Don't chew the gum. It may stick to your braces and in extreme cases break them. When you have a small ball of gum, dry your brace and apply the gum to it.
Tip: Wax alternatives may not naturally stick to braces in the same way as orthodontic wax. Before you try to apply them, make sure that the brace is dry. This helps the wax stick. You may have to reapply emergency fixes more often than you would orthodontic wax.