Dental braces are tough on the gums and jaw tissue. Since the sharp ends of the wires and the pointed parts of the appliances can gouge into the soft tissues in the mouth, causing canker sores and scrapes, orthodontists have their patients use wax to reduce these problems.
Dental wax covers the problematic areas, reducing their ability to rub against the inner cheek and gums. This reduces the number and severity of sores caused by braces.
Make sure your hands are clean. Tear off a small piece of dental wax by twisting it until it comes off. Don't pull it off, as it will stretch and become thin, making it more difficult to shape properly. Most dental wax is made of paraffin, carnauba, or beeswax.
Roll the wax into a small ball. Rolling the wax with your hands makes it warm and easier to shape. You'll want it to be a compact, fairly symmetrical ball when you are done.
Use your fingertip to directly apply the ball of wax onto the part of the braces that need a cushion. Push the wax firmly onto the area so that it will stick, but don't push it down into the area between the teeth and braces. You want the dental wax to stick out further than the braces.
Repeat until you have covered all the parts of your braces that were causing irritation or pain. The wax will start to come off on its own over time, so reapply it as needed. Generally the wax will stay in place for a few hours.
Remove the wax before eating. Pull or move the wax off of the appliances with your finger or a toothbrush. If you forget to remove the wax it will most likely become dislodged by your chewing and get swallowed with the food. It is nontoxic, though, so it won't harm you if it is swallowed.
If you don't have access to dental wax you can substitute paraffin, carnauba, or beeswax, but the form of the wax might make applying it to the braces more difficult. Don't use chewing gum on your braces, as it will get down in and around the appliances and be difficult to remove.