Can You Smoke With Invisalign?
You really shouldn’t smoke with Invisalign or any clear aligners. Smoking can have a negative impact on your treatment and stain your clear aligners.
In fact, some Invisalign and aligner providers will not handle treatment for active smokers. Others will while providing specific precautions. Ultimately, if you want the best results, you should stop smoking before you begin aligner treatment.
Smoking with Invisalign & Aligners: The Risks
In addition to the negative effects that smoking has on general oral health, smoking with Invisalign or retainers poses additional risks to treatment outcomes. Any type of smoking during aligner treatment could cause the following problems:
Bad breath: Smoking dries the mouth out. This means less saliva is washing away bacteria in the mouth that causes bad breath.Smoking also leaves foul-smelling tobacco and chemical residue in the mouth that can get trapped in aligners, resulting in chronic, all-day bad breath.
Oral health problems, including gum problems: Nicotine, tar, and tobacco residue can get trapped in the space between teeth and aligners, near the vulnerable gum line. This can cause the area to be exposed to these irritants for extended periods of time and result in serious problems like tooth decay, gum irritation and inflammation, and tooth discoloration.Gum disease, including early-stage gingivitis, may be a concern for many smokers, especially long-term smokers whose overall oral health has already been somewhat compromised.
Because aligners fit comfortably over teeth, it may be easy to forget you’re even wearing them. Smoking with them may seem like no big deal, especially if you use a mouthwash or rinse after. However, this is not the case.
Smoking with Invisalign in — even once — can cause damage to your aligners and delay or complicate your treatment. The high temperature in your mouth from smoking can warp or damage your aligners immediately.
Smoking with aligners will also cause them to stain and yellow. This will ruin the clear, “invisible” aspect of Invisalign or aligners that probably made them so appealing to you in the first place. Instead, your aligners will be much more noticeable in all the wrong ways.
Many smokers consider the option of removing their aligners to smoke. This seems easy enough. After all, Invisalign and aligners are easily removable — that’s part of the reason they’re so convenient.
But removing your aligners to smoke, especially if you’ve got a serious habit, can negatively affect your treatment.
In order for your Invisalign or aligners to be effective, they must be worn as advised — generally, over 22 hours a day. Constantly removing and replacing the aligners to smoke (and cleaning and your teeth after each cigarette) may put your use time under the prescribed amount. This can cause a delay in results and even complicate your treatment.
If your teeth haven’t shifted as much as they should’ve because the trays weren’t worn for the proper time and then you move on to your next aligner tray anyway, the whole progression of your aligner treatment could be affected.
Staining and discoloration are also issues, even when you remove your aligner to smoke. Any trapped tobacco or nicotine residue (which may hide in hard-to-reach spots in your mouth even after brushing) can cause yellowing or staining on your aligners.
Vaping, or the use of e-cigarettes, exploded in popularity from around 2007 to 2014. Today, many people still consider these devices a safer alternative to cigarettes.
However, “vapes” and e-cigarettes contain many chemicals, and their health risks may still not be fully understood. Vapes and vaping liquid obtained on the black market or from questionable online sources may be especially dangerous.
Vaping while completing Invisalign or aligner treatment carries the same risks as smoking cigarettes, including staining, bad breath, and gum irritation. The chemicals and nicotine from vaping may get trapped between teeth and aligners in the same way.
Continuing Invisalign or Aligner Treatment as a Smoker
If your Invisalign dentist or aligner provider agrees to continue or start treatment with you actively smoking, they’ll likely ask you to take precautions like these:
Never smoke with aligners in.
Brush (and possibly floss or rinse with mouthwash) after each cigarette.
Limit the number of cigarettes you smoke per day.
Ensure you’re wearing the aligners for enough time each day.
Be diligent about keeping up an effective daily oral hygiene routine. This can help to prevent gum irritation and tooth decay.
Wash aligners as instructed to ensure no tobacco or nicotine residue is left behind in them.
In order to avoid treatment delays or complications, it’s important to be honest with your dental professional about your smoking and about how much time you are spending with your aligners in.
The best solution for your oral and overall health is to quit smoking for good. Ideally, you should quit at least a few weeks before your teeth straightening treatment begins. This way, your dental professional can plan accordingly, and you won’t be experiencing the worst of withdrawal while adjusting to your new aligners.
For more information about smoking and its effects on oral health, as well as resources to help you quit, visit smokefree.gov.
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