Traditionally, orthodontic issues such as an overbite, underbite, or crossbite, had to be corrected with braces. However, now more people are relying on orthodontics with clear aligners to straighten the smile and correct the bite. Clear aligners like Invisalign® and MTM® are more comfortable, discreet, and convenient than metal braces, making them a popular option among Dr. Bruno Lemay’s dental patients.
Prior to starting orthodontics with clear aligners, patients often have questions about the types of lifestyle changes they may need to make during treatment. Many concerns relate to smoking and Invisalign, or whether patients can continue to smoke while wearing clear aligners. Here we offer some important treatment guidelines for smokers.
Can I Continue Smoking During Treatment?
Smoking is known to have a negative impact on oral health, as well as overall physical health. Smoking and tobacco use have been linked to a number of health conditions, including COPD, lung cancer, oral cancer, gum disease, and heart disease. In addition to these negative effects, smoking can also compromise the success of orthodontic treatment with clear aligners and increase the risk of dental complications during clear aligner treatment. While it is technically possible for someone to continue smoking during orthodontic treatment with clear aligners, we strongly advise against it.
How Can Smoking Negatively Impact My Treatment?
Smoking can negatively impact clear aligner treatment for our patients in a number of different ways, which we outline below.
- Smoking stains aligner trays – One of the greatest benefits of clear aligners is their discreet appearance. People often refer to aligners as invisible braces because they blend in so seamlessly with the teeth. Unfortunately, the same nicotine and tar that causes dental stains in smokers can also cause discoloration of aligner trays. Over time, trays can take on a yellow or brown tint, which makes them far less attractive and discreet.
- Smoking can compromise treatment results – If someone is going to smoke while undergoing Invisalign treatment, they should remove their aligner trays while doing so to prevent staining. However, the problem with this is that aligners are only meant to be taken out for minimal amounts of time, typically just when a person eats or brushes their teeth. If aligners are not in place at least 22 hours a day, treatment results can be delayed or compromised.
- Smoking threatens oral health – We already mentioned that smoking can cause dental stains and gum disease. When people smoke during clear aligner treatment, the potential impact is even greater. Aligners trap nicotine, tobacco, and tar against the teeth and gums, leading to prolonged exposure. This increases the risk of dental complications such as tooth decay, enamel erosion, dental stains, and gum disease.
Tips to Promote Treatment Success
The best way for smokers to promote the success of orthodontic treatment with clear aligners is to give up the habit altogether. We understand that this isn’t easy. For individuals who are struggling to quit smoking, we offer these tips:
- Talk to your doctor about techniques, programs, and/or medication to quit smoking
- If you smoke, always remove aligners when doing so
- Brush your teeth after smoking and before putting aligners back in place
- Until you are able to quit completely, try to cut back on smoking to ensure that aligners are worn at least 22 hours a day
Get In Touch
If you are interested in straightening your smile without clunky metal appliances, Dr. Bruno Lemay can tell you more about orthodontics with clear aligners. To request an appointment, fill out our contact form online or call our dental practice at (760) 324-4450.