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Can You Smoke with Invisalign Clear Braces?

young woman showing off her invisalign clear braces aligner, showing off her smile
Currently, Massachusetts has the lowest recorded smoking rate in its history. Only 13.7% of adults in Massachusetts currently smoke, but this is still a significant number. So it’s common for us to get people asking whether they can smoke with Invisalign.

It is possible to smoke while undergoing Invisalign treatment to straighten your smile. You have to be very careful about it, and if you are a heavy smoker, you may want to consider a different type of orthodontic treatment. If you are a light or social smoker, it will be easier to manage smoking while undergoing Invisalign. Find out if Invisalign in Woburn and Winchester is right for you.

How to Manage Invisalign Treatment While Smoking

One of the major benefits of Invisalign is that the aligner trays are removable. You should remove your trays whenever you eat or drink anything besides water. This is the best time to light up if you are a smoker Get your cigarette fix in during mealtimes, then brush your teeth before you put the Invisalign trays back in.

Smoking while wearing the Invisalign trays will inevitably lead to discoloration, which is not only unsightly while you’re wearing the aligners but can stain your teeth as well. Plus, if any tobacco gets into the tray, it can lead to tooth decay.

For best results with Invisalign:

  • Keep your aligner trays in for at least 22 hours per day
  • Clean your aligner trays frequently
  • Don’t eat or drink with your trays in, except for water
  • Brush and floss before putting your trays in to avoid trapping bacteria that can cause tooth decay
  • Don’t smoke while wearing your aligner trays

How Smoking Impacts Orthodontic Treatment

We don’t have enough good information about how smoking will impact orthodontic treatment. Most of the research done in the area has been with animal models or orthodontic materials in a lab (not in a mouth).

However, the research suggests that cigarette smoking might:

  • Increase the speed at which teeth move in orthodontic treatment
  • Reduce the formation of new bone to stabilize teeth after movement
  • Increase the amount of plaque that forms on braces
  • Decrease the strength of the bond between braces and teeth
  • Increase the risk of root resorption

Smoking can increase the speed your teeth move with orthodontic treatment because it causes your body to remove bone more readily, allowing teeth to move faster. However, the body doesn’t grow new bone as well, which means your teeth might be looser after orthodontic treatment. It may be easier to knock them out, and you might have to wear your retainer more after treatment.

Smoking makes it easier for oral bacteria to cling to orthodontic braces, leading to a higher risk of cavities and gum disease when you have braces. Cigarette smoke can also weaken the bond between braces and your teeth, making it more likely that brackets will come off and need to be re-cemented.

Smoking can also increase the risk of root resorption in orthodontic treatment. Root resorption occurs when the body removes the root of your teeth in addition to or instead of removing bone around the root to allow the tooth to move. It’s a rare complication, even for smokers, but it’s very serious—it can lead to a loss of all treated teeth!

Smoking is not recommended while getting orthodontic treatment.

E-cigarettes and Orthodontics

We know even less about the impact of e-cigarettes on orthodontic treatment. Some research suggests it is not as hard on the gums and bones as traditional smoking. However, other research suggests it still elevates risks related to orthodontics.

In most animal studies about orthodontics and smoking, researchers exposed animals to nicotine, not cigarette smoke. Risks related to the bones and roots are linked to nicotine exposure, so those are likely the same, whether you get nicotine from cigarettes or e-cigarettes.

Are You a Candidate for Invisalign?

If you are a heavy smoker (or e-cigarette user) and don’t think you can cut down or quit, you may not be a good candidate for Invisalign. Smoking while wearing Invisalign aligner trays can lead to a host of problems with your teeth, and you don’t want to be taking your aligners off more than a few times a day for meals.

Invisalign trays need to be worn for at least 22 hours a day to be effective. You may think that taking them off and putting them back on again throughout the day isn’t a big deal, but it adds up and can interfere with the effectiveness of your treatment.

Dr. Clancy will discuss your smoking habits during your consultation at our Woburn and Winchester dental office to determine if it’s feasible for you to undergo Invisalign treatment. If he thinks you are not a suitable candidate, he can help you find resources to help you quit smoking or cut back to a point where your smoking won’t interfere too severely with treatment.

Schedule a Consultation For Invisalign in Woburn and Winchester

If you smoke but are interested in straightening your teeth due to crooked or gapped teeth, don’t hesitate to contact Woburn and Winchestercosmetic Dr. Ryan Clancy at (781) 396-8558 to schedule your initial consultation.

By Ryan M. Clancy, DMD, MAGD, LVIF, FPFA, FIAPA | February 9th, 2022 | Invisalign

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