If you are a smoker, you may be concerned about how to manage your smoking habit while undergoing Invisalign treatment. Will you have to cut back or stop smoking completely for the duration of your orthodontic treatment, or is there a way to keep smoking alongside your treatment – without compromising either your oral health or your teeth straightening results?
In this article, you are going to discover the only true answer to this important question, and a few others to boot. If this sounds good then keep on reading.
Why smoking with Invisalign aligners in is a bad idea
This is probably not the answer you were hoping for, but smoking with your Invisalign aligners in is a very bad idea. Here are the straightforward reasons why.
If you smoke while wearing Invisalign trays, some of the nicotine and other harmful chemicals can contained in your cigarettes, vape liquid or chewing tobacco is bound to get trapped under the aligner trays which can badly affect your teeth and gums.
Some of the most harmful effects of both nicotine and chemical tobacco, including vaping ingredients, are teeth discolouration, while for gums the outcomes can be much worse and include receding gum tissue around the teeth, gum disease, tooth decay, oral cancer,, high blood pressure and even heart disease.
It is no secret that smoking and vaping have a negative effect on your general health, but while undergoing your Invisalign treatment your nicotine habit can be particularly harmful and can really mess with your dental health as well as put you at increased risk of treatment failure as well as the other negative effects mentioned above. After all, if you end up with perfectly straight teeth but they are yellow and decayed or even loose in the gum tissue because you have developed gum disease, your Invisalign treatment can hardly be said to have been a success.
Whether you are a light or a heavy smoker the best thing you can do to avoid the serious and adverse effects of tobacco products on your orthodontic treatment and you health in general is to quit smoking altogether while you undergo Invisalign treatment.
Of course, this is not realistic for everyone, but fortunately there is a loophole that will allow you to protect your oral health while still being able to continue smoking throughout your treatment with Invisalign clear aligners.
How to manage your smoking habit while undergoing Invisalign treatment
Invisalign trays only have to be worn 20-22 hours out of every four hours. What this means is that you are going to have 2-3 hours every day where you do not have to wear your aligners.
While this short timeframe is not necessarily convenient, it still means that you have several hours a day available during which you can do what you like.
Make the most of your 2-4 aligner free hours
Plan things well so that you can always make the most of your daily 2-4 aligner free hours.
Consider these precious few hours your magical timeframe during which you are free to indulge in all of the foods, drinks and other treats that are not compatible with wearing your clear aligners. These indulgences may include not only food but also any beverages other than water, candy, and of course smoking.
Although there is no hard and fast rules about how many times a day you are allowed to take your clear aligners in and out of your mouth, most Invisalign patients find it practical to only remove their aligners about 3 times a day, typically once in the morning to have breakfast, coffee, orange juice and so on, once in the middle of the day for lunch, and once a night for dinner and snacks. Smokers are likely to also use these mealtimes to have a cigarette, while others may take a couple of extra smoking breaks throughout the day. Keep in mind that the fewer times you have to remove your aligner trays the better, as they can be prone to breaking if they are removed too often.
It is important to always rinse, brush and floss your teeth and mouth thoroughly after eating, drinking anything other than water, and smoking. That way, your teeth and mouth will be completely clean when you put your clear aligners back in your mouth, which in turn reduces the likelihood of dental complications.
Wear nicotine patches
If you are heavy smoker and find yourself really struggling to limit your smoking to a couple of times a day, try wearing nicotine patches. These do not interfere with your clear aligner treatment at all.
On the other hand, you should avoid nicotine gum, since chewing gum is one of the worst things you can do while wearing clear aligners. Not only are the aligner trays not built to be able to withstand the force and pressure of biting and chewing, they are also likely to become warped and pulled out of shape by the gum, which of course can have a negative impact on your teeth straightening results.
Why smokers are even worse off seeking other forms of orthodontic treatment
Opting for traditional braces instead of clear aligner is not a good idea for smokers.
While clear aligners can be removed from the mouth to allow you to smoke, metal or ceramic braces are permanently in your mouth until the end of your treatment. What this means is that you are not able to remove them when you want to smoke – or for any other reason for that matter.
Nicotine stains and discolours teeth and braces
What this means in practice is that if you keep smoking while wearing traditional braces, teeth discolouration is a given. Many actual patients find that if they smoke while wearing braces, their teeth are two-toned when the braces are removed, with the parts where the metal or ceramic were glued onto the teeth noticeably whiter than the surrounding enamel.
Tobacco use can lead to gum disease
Another risk of smoking with traditional braces is bad oral hygiene. Cleaning your teeth is much harder while wearing braces, and really getting in between the teeth as well as keeping the gums healthy is much more of a challenge while wearing braces, particularly for smokers.
It is all too easy for smokers undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces to develop gum disease and other serious oral and general health issues.
Smoking with Invisalign FAQ
Can you smoke with Invisalign retainers?
However, you can smoke during the 2-4 hours a day where you do not have to wear your Invisalign trays.
Can you vape or smoke with Invisalign?
You can neither vape, smoke or chew tobacco or nicotine gums while wearing Invisalign clear aligners.
The reason for this is that all of these either pull on the aligner trays, which might distort them, or contains tobacco and other harmful chemicals that can get under the aligner trays and damage both your teeth and your gums.
If you are a smoker and you are contemplating the Invisalign treatment, you are in for a bit of a challenge. You are no doubt going to have to restructure your habits to accommodate your orthodontic treatment process, if you want to achieve the healthy smile of your dreams while avoiding complications.
If you are not ready to give up smoking, the great news is that you do not have to. You can, instead, limit your daily smoking to the two-four hours a day where you are not required to wear your clear aligner trays. Just make sure you clean your teeth and mouth thoroughly before reinserting your Invisalign trays.