If you smoke and have misaligned teeth, you may be wondering what your options are for orthodontic treatment. Invisalign is popular because it can be used to resolve a variety of malocclusions such as
The primary reason that many people choose to wear Invisalign is because the aligners are virtually invisible. This means that even at close range, most people won’t notice that you are wearing them. Plus, treatment time is usually shorter with aligners than with traditional braces. On average, treatment takes 12 to 18 months and patients with a very mild misalignment may see results within 6 months.
However, it is important to note that successful treatment does require adherence to certain guidelines. One of the guidelines associated with aligners is to stop smoking- or at least avoid smoking while wearing the aligners. If you need help quitting, the team at Arlington Dental Excellence can help.
In this article, we’ll explain more about how smoking can impact your overall oral health, as well as your treatment with Invisalign.
How Does Smoking Impact Oral Health?
For years, medical experts have made it clear that smoking has a detrimental impact on your overall health. Therefore, it’s no surprise that it can also impact your oral health as well. Dental professionals have several concerns associated with smoking, including increased risks of:
What if You Don’t Want to Quit?
If you are a smoker, we understand that quitting can be challenging. Therefore, if you must smoke, wait until you take your aligners out to eat/drink or brush your teeth to do so. Still, compliance is critical, so it is important to wear the aligners for at least 20 to 22 hours a day. So, if you have already exceeded that 2- to 4-hour window and you still must smoke, you can leave your aligners in.
That being said, there are two issues that you need to know about when it comes to smoking while undergoing Invisalign treatment:
Aligners can stain
One of the main reasons for choosing Invisalign aligners is transparency, which means you can discreetly correct your mild to moderate misalignment. Smoking causes stains on your fingers and teeth. If you smoke while wearing your aligners, they can also develop stains. However, if your teeth are already stained, the staining won’t be too noticeable while wearing your aligners.
Aligners must be worn 20 to 22 hours a day
One of the major factors in the success of your treatment with Invisalign is wearing them consistently. Aligners must be worn for at least 20 to 22 hours a day- ideally, closer to 22 hours a day for maximum effectiveness. If you don’t wear them as directed, your teeth will not shift as expected. If you are removing your aligners to smoke as well as to eat/drink and take care of oral hygiene, you may not wear them for the full amount of time.
How to Clean Aligners if You Smoke
Even if you are not a smoker, it is important to make sure that you keep your aligners clean. When cleaning your aligners, you must avoid using hot water or anything abrasive, as these could cause damage to your aligners. If you are a smoker, there are products that you can use to reduce the effects of staining on your aligners along with a soft-bristled toothbrush. While it may not completely eliminate the stains, it will reduce staining so that you can continue to discreetly straighten your teeth.
Does Smoking Increase Treatment Time?
Invisalign aligners are designed to be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day. The longer you have them out, the longer the treatment will take. When you wear them for at least 22 hours a day or more, you may be able to expedite treatment. However, if you take them out longer than 4 hours, you will most likely increase your expected treatment time.
Smoking is detrimental to your oral and overall health, and we encourage you to quit smoking if possible. Some patients find that knowing they must wear the aligners for at least 20 to 22 hours a day helps them fight cravings. They are able to cut back on smoking by only allowing themselves to smoke after eating, which can eventually lead to them quitting altogether. If you need help with quitting, we can offer advice or you can find a variety of resources online.
Schedule Your Consultation with Arlington Dental Excellence
If you have a mild to moderate malocclusion, schedule your consultation with the team at Arlington Dental Excellence. We will perform a comprehensive exam, including x-rays and other necessary imaging to determine your candidacy for this treatment.
If you are a smoker and you are concerned about how it will impact your treatment, make sure to discuss this with the dental team. We will be happy to help you find resources to help you quit.
We are located on Fairfax Drive in Arlington. Our office hours are Monday through Thursday from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Friday from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM, and Saturday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. We are available on Sundays for emergency treatment.