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Clear aligners have revolutionized orthodontic treatment over the last several years, and Invisalign has led the charge. Many adult patients love treatment with Invisalign because the clear aligners offer a lower profile than metal or clear braces. But one question many adults are asking is, “Can I smoke while wearing Invisalign?” It’s an important question you will want to discuss with your orthodontist before you start treatment because it can have an effect. Those who vape will want to discuss treatment options because it can affect your treatment just as much as smoking. 

Fergus Orthodontics has worked with patients in the Jonesboro, AR, area who are smokers, and we know the effects smoking or vaping can have on your treatment, particularly on Invisalign. There are a few things you should know if you’re a smoker or vaper and are considering Invisalign treatment. 

Can I Smoke With Invisalign?

Invisalign is a great treatment option for adults because it is nearly invisible on the teeth. The acrylic trays are custom-designed to match the patient’s teeth and gum line. That makes them very difficult to see, particularly from a distance. 

You must wear Invisalign 22 hours a day to be fully effective. They should only be removed for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. However, smoking with Invisalign can cause issues, from discoloration to tooth decay. It’s best to smoke with your Invisalign out. If you’re a heavy smoker, this could become a problem because it would mean having your Invisalign out too long. It’s something to discuss when you visit with us. 

How Will Smoking Affect My Invisalign?

Why do you have to remove Invisalign to smoke? There are several reasons why you don’t want to smoke with Invisalign. The biggest reason is the discoloration of your Invisalign. We all know that smoking can discolor your teeth. That applies to your Invisalign, as well. The clear aligners could yellow quickly, making your teeth look yellow or more yellow. 

Another reason is tooth decay. The nicotine from the cigarette smoke can become trapped between the Invisalign and your teeth and increase plaque. This can eat away at your enamel, which can cause tooth decay. 

Smoking alone can cause dental problems that can be exacerbated by orthodontic treatment. Studies have shown that smoking can increase the speed at which teeth move because bone breaks down faster. However, it also means bone is slower to regrown and harden, which means your teeth can move more easily once your treatment is over. 

There is one other complication with tobacco use and orthodontic treatment: root resorption. Ordinarily, your teeth and roots move while you wear braces or Invisalign because the bone breaks down and rebuilds. But with smokers, rather than adjusting the bone, the body breaks down and absorbs the tooth’s root to move it. This can cause tooth loss. It’s a rare complication, but it’s one smokers face more than non-smokers. 

Is Vaping OK With Invisalign?

Vaping is new compared to cigarettes, so not everything is known about the effects of vaping on oral health and orthodontics. What is known is that vaping can increase plaque on teeth and cause more tooth decay. 

The biggest concern with vaping is that those who vape tend to do so longer at a time than smoking a single cigarette. That means even more time for your Invisalign to be out of your mouth, which can compromise your treatment and extend your overall treatment time. Studies are still being conducted about other possible issues, such as a potential increased risk of root reabsorption.

Are There Treatment Alternatives for Smokers?

So if you can’t smoke with Invisalign, are there other treatment options available? The answer is yes, but they are severely limited. Clear braces offer an alternative, but like Invisalign, they can stain from the cigarette or vaping smoke. That’s why they’re not an ideal alternative.

For smokers, traditional metal braces may be best. The stainless steel resists discoloring from the smoke. However, cigarette or vaping smoke can weaken the bond between the brackets and the teeth, adding a new complication.

New Smile, Healthier Lifestyle!

Creating a beautiful smile may be the perfect opportunity to consider quitting the smoking habit. The American Dental Association has long stated serious oral health issues associated with smoking, including increased tooth decay, bone deterioration, inflamed gums, and the threat of oral cancers. While not all of the long-term side effects are known about vaping, the ADA states that vaping is not a safe alternative to cigarettes and can be as damaging as teeth and gums. 

Treatment with braces or Invisalign may be a great excuse to quit the smoking or vaping habit. The benefits of quitting would start almost immediately, which less chance of discoloration and less plaque on the teeth. Studies have also shown that quitting smoking immediately reduces your chances of cancer, including oral cancer. 

If this is an option, we can work with you on some possible methods for quitting smoking. It can be a hard habit to break, but there are many ways to do it. Fergus Orthodontics will work with you to find the best way to quit and improve your oral and overall health. If you’re in the Jonesboro, AR, area, you can schedule a free initial consultation and find out the best options for you, with or without smoking.