When you first get orthodontic braces on your teeth, the brackets may rub the inside of your lips and gums, creating little mouth sores. Although the sores are not dangerous they are uncomfortable and can make it difficult to eat or speak. Fortunately, a little orthodontic dental wax, dental silicone, or an orthodontic lip protector can create a barrier between your braces and your mouth.
Orthodontic Dental Wax
Dental wax is simply a medical grade soft wax that is safe to use in your mouth. If you've never used dental wax before, here are some instructions:
- Break off a tiny bit of wax from the container.
- Work the wax between your fingers to warm and soften it a little bit (to make it more shapeable)
- Place the wax directly on the bracket that is causing the irritation. The wax will stick to the bracket and the tooth. You can use as much or as little dental wax as you need to be comfortable. Play around with it to find out how much you need.
Dental wax is non-toxic, so do not worry if you swallow it. Wax in your mouth tends to break down over time, so you'll probably need to re-apply more after eating a meal. Take off the wax before you brush your teeth, or it will get all over your toothbrush (it can be difficult to clean off). Individual containers of dental wax are available at most local drugstores or in bulk boxes on the web.
Dental silicone is a little different. It lasts longer than regular dental wax. Your brackets must be extremely dry when you apply dental silicone, or it will not stick to them. Some people love dental silicone and some prefer regular wax. If you have never used dental silicone, ask your orthodontist for a small packet, or buy just a small amount to start with. Sometimes you have to "hang in there" until you perfect your technique to get the dental silicone to stick. But once you get the hang of it, you will enjoy the fact that it last longer in your mouth than regular dental wax. Dental silicone is not available in local stores, but you can buy it on the web as mentioned below. Some people use silicone earplugs (the type used for swimming) as dental silicone, but that is not necessarily advisable. That silicone has been approved to use in the ear, but not in the mouth.
Brace Guards and Brace Lip Protectors
In addition to dental wax, there are many types of lip protectors and "brace guards" available at dental offices and on the web. These products shield large portions of your brackets from your gums. Some lip protectors hook on to the wires between your braces brackets. Other types of brace guards actually fit around the entire bracket, which totally shields the brackets from your mouth. Orthodontic lip protectors are great for people who do a lot of speaking, singing, or who play a wind instrument. In fact, there is even a product where you can mold your own brace guard out of polymer material at home.
Remember, there is no need to suffer with cut up gums and lips when you have braces. Use some dental wax or a lip protector and keep yourself comfortable.