How can I buy orthodontic wax with less packaging?
May 20, 2024 7:11 PM   Subscribe

I'm getting orthodontics done now and I've been going through a TON of orthodontic wax since my fixed appliance was installed. Orthodontic wax typically comes in little plastic cases with 5 strips in each one Example on Amazon. I don't have a need for all these tiny cases and I doubt they can be properly recycled due to their small size. I want to find a way to buy orthodontic wax that comes in larger cases or uses more sustainable packaging. Any suggestions?

I already tried these orthodontic wax dots which were much smaller than I expected and I wasn't able to combine them into larger pieces easily:
link here.

I was also looking at food-grade wax generally, but I'm not sure how to tell if they're the right consistency.
posted by dokodomo to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
I have no idea about alternative packages to purchase, but if all else falls, donate those little containers to a creative reuse store or thrift store near you... a crafter will figure out something cool to do with them!
posted by stormyteal at 7:28 PM on May 20 [3 favorites]

Can you use dots on your appliance or must they be strips?
posted by MagnificentVacuum at 7:40 PM on May 20

I know that this isn't answering the question you asked, but...maybe you can talk to your orthodontist if you need that much wax? Maybe if you're going through that much, that's a sign your orthodontics need some tweaking.

Also, maybe your orthodontist can point you at a vendor for the wax that uses more sustainable packaging or can sell you things in bulk. As for the cases - seconding the re-use store, or using them yourself for other things. I'd personally use something exactly like that as a container for corralling random things for travel (tuck in some tea bags so I can have tea in the hotel, stick in some single-dose envelopes of various OTC medication and a couple bandaids for a tiny first aid kit, a few buttons and some safety pins for a DIY sewing kit....)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:41 PM on May 20

You can buy orthodontist-grade dental supplies online! For instance here's Net32's listing of orthodontic wax. (Some items and/or sellers may require a dental license, but many do not.)

I had a similar issue but with floss packages, so I got a dispenser that holds 200 yard rolls of floss. Takes months to run out, the refills are cheap, and packaging is minimal.
posted by xil at 8:14 PM on May 20

I would straight up murder for a constant supply of those cases. Reach out to your crafter/maker or boardgamer friends. We are otherwise buying similar things so the sustainability loop stays closed.
posted by Iteki at 4:15 AM on May 21

Response by poster: I fear that the size of the plastic cases orthodontic wax comes in is not clear: each one is about 25mm x 45 mm x 4 mm, smaller than a matchbox and certainly too small to store typical playing cards, bandaids, or tea bags. I am not sure if it would even hold matches. It could possibly store some sewing needles. If you still think you can really use these containers, I'll send them to you!

It's been a week and I've already gone through 3 boxes. I will be doing orthodontics for about 2 years. I expect my consumption of wax will not be constant throughout this time, but even at 1 box a week that will still be 24 tiny plastic boxes to deal with.

I did look up bulk stores for orthodontic wax but I can only find listings for orthodontic wax in the same tiny plastic containers. If you find a listing for the wax itself in larger containers, please let me know. I looked into the composition of orthodontic wax to see if I could buy that, but wasn't able to find the specific wax. For example, some are made with medical-grade paraffin wax but I'm not sure of the specific type as they are sold with different melting points and other characteristics.
posted by dokodomo at 11:35 AM on May 21

i'm even more convinced you should speak with your orthodontist about this - firstly because maybe they would know where you might be able to get bigger containers, but secondly (and more importantly to my mind), if you are going through three of those boxes in only a week, that sounds like something your orthodontist can, should, and needs to address - sanding something down, bending something, or tweaking it so that you're not needing to use that much wax in the first place.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:16 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Well I can bring it up with my orthodontist but it isn't easy for me to get to their office so I'm not planning to go back before my monthly appointment unless it's for something urgent. I also just started using wax so I probably wasted most of a box trying to get it onto my appliance and not being able to get it to work. I might also just need more wax than most people because I have a small mouth (which this appliance is treating) and the inside facing part of my appliance (which doesn't exist on typical braces) is scratching my tongue.
posted by dokodomo at 1:25 PM on May 21

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