Getting braces can sometimes mean breaking certain habits. Children getting braces may need to stop sucking their thumbs or thrusting their tongues against their teeth. Adults getting braces may need to stop grinding their teeth in their sleep. Patients may also need to stop eating certain foods temporarily.
There is another habit older patients often ask about, and that’s whether they can smoke or vape with braces.
We all know there are health issues associated with smoking and vaping, but these habits can affect your braces treatment as well. Fergus Orthodontics recommends against smoking and vaping with braces, but not for the reasons you might think. Smoking and vaping can not only affect your treatment, but they can affect your braces themselves. The effects may be slightly different than smoking with clear aligners, but they still can cause issues with your treatment.
Can You Smoke With Braces?
Treatment with braces requires as much dedication on the part of the patient as it does on the part of the doctor. You must do your part to ensure your treatment goes smoothly. That includes avoiding certain foods, brushing and flossing regularly, and stopping smoking.
Smoking can affect your braces and your teeth during braces treatment. Smoking can discolor your braces over time, particularly your clear braces. Though they are made to be stain resistant, smoking and vaping can slowly turn them yellow because of the harsh chemicals found in tobacco smoke and vaping smoke. Before you know it, you have yellow brackets instead of clear white ones.
Oral Health Problems with Smoking and Vaping
In addition to damaging your braces, smoking and vaping with braces can also damage your teeth in several ways. The most obvious way is discoloration. Just as the smoke can stain your braces, it can also cause tooth stains.
The problem is, your brackets and bands of your braces are attached with a strong bonding agent that doesn’t let that smoke through. That means that once you remove those brackets and bands, you’ll have a bunch of whiter spots surrounded by darker, yellow areas.
It will be difficult — if not impossible — to even out the color with something like tooth whitening. That’s because the tooth whitening will whiten the light spots just as it will the darker ones. So you may end up with lighter light spots and slightly darker areas around them without several, precise treatments.
Smoking and vaping also increase your chances of tooth decay. Smoke can get into nooks and crannies around your braces and weaken your enamel, the protective outer shell of your tooth. Braces can make it more difficult to brush and floss properly, so adding smoking further increases your chances of tooth decay.
Can Smoking Affect My Braces Treatment?
Do you know how braces work? They apply pressure that causes your jawbone to break down, allowing the teeth to move. As they move, the jawbone rebuilds itself behind them, holding the teeth in their new positions.
It’s a very delicate process, one usually well-controlled by your orthodontist. Dr. Fergus uses her knowledge of this process to plan your treatment and give you the smile of your dreams.
Smoking cigarettes or vaping can negatively impact this process. Researchers have found that smoking accelerates teeth movement because bone breaks down faster. The chemicals in the smoke not only break down the bone faster, but it also slows the bone’s regrowth. That means that your teeth can move more easily after your braces come off, damaging the perfect smile you’re trying to achieve.
Smoking and vaping can cause another complication called root resorption. Normally, braces move not just the tooth you see but the entire root as well. On rare occasions with smokers, instead of the bone breaking down and rebuilding as the tooth moves, the body begins breaking down the root of the tooth to move it.
The root is then absorbed back into the body. This can cause tooth loss. While non-smokers can experience this, it’s more common for smokers to have this complication.
Can a Dentist Tell If You Vape or Smoke?
The answer is yes, BUT we know it isn’t easy to stop smoking for braces treatment or for your overall health. Most people try to quit on their own “cold turkey,” but they aren’t always successful.
If you need help quitting, talk to us at Fergus Orthodontics. We can recommend options to help you quit. You can also talk to your doctor, who can recommend prescriptions that can help you step down your nicotine addiction and quit in an easier and more successful way.
Braces in Jonesboro, AR
Once you’ve paused (or, hopefully, a stop) to smoking or vaping, you may be ready for braces treatment. Fergus Orthodontics is here for you. We can work with you no matter your habits and help you get the orthodontic treatment that’s best for you.
You deserve to have the smile of your dreams. If you’re in the Jonesboro, AR, area, schedule an appointment for a free consultation and see how Fergus Orthodontics can help you create the perfect smile!