Invisalign® has revolutionized orthodontic treatment by allowing patients to straighten their teeth without the use of noticeable and uncomfortable metal brackets and wires. Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible, and sit closely over the teeth to provide patients with the ultimate degree of discreetness and comfort throughout treatment.
Because Invisalign offers so many unique benefits without compromising the effectiveness of treatment, it has grown to be a popular treatment for patients with a wide range of malocclusion problems. Unfortunately, not all patients are ideal Invisalign candidates.
At Artistic Expressions Dentistry in Philadelphia, PA, Dr. Bruce Wilderman discusses how smoking can affect Invisalign treatment, and if patients who use tobacco are suitable candidates for this teeth straightening treatment.
Is Invisalign Right for Smokers?
Prior to starting Invisalign treatment, all patients will go through a thorough consultation process. Invisalign can correct many of the same orthodontic issues as traditional braces, so most patients are ideal candidates for this treatment method, as long as they have good overall oral health and are committed to the treatment process.
Unfortunately, heavy smoking or tobacco use is something that could interfere with Invisalign treatment, so it is vital that our Philadelphia patients discuss any tobacco use with Dr. Wilderman at their initial Invisalign consultation. While Invisalign may be appropriate for casual smokers, heavy smokers are likely better suited to alternate orthodontic treatment options, unless they are willing to quit or cut back on their tobacco use.
How Does Smoking Affect Invisalign?
For Invisalign treatment to be successful, the aligners must be worn for a minimum of 20 to 22 hours per day. The issue for smokers is that aligners cannot be worn while smoking. If aligners are in place while a person smokes, nicotine and other harmful chemicals can get caught between the aligners and the teeth. This not only increases the risk of tooth decay and other dental complications, but it can also cause the Invisalign aligners and the teeth to become discolored.
Removing aligners to smoke should not interfere with the success of treatment if a person limits smoking to just a few times a day, but heavier smokers will be required to remove their aligners repeatedly throughout the day. Ultimately, this would compromise the success of treatment because the aligners would not be worn for the minimum amount of time required.
Managing Tobacco Use Throughout Invisalign Treatment
While we always advise our Philadelphia patients to quit smoking altogether so that they can improve their oral health and overall well-being, it is possible to smoke casually throughout Invisalign treatment, as long as certain precautions are taken to protect the teeth and promote the success of treatment, such as:
- Always remove aligners prior to smoking
- Try to smoke at meal times, so that aligners do not need to be removed excessively
- Brush the teeth prior to putting aligners back in place
- Clean the aligners at least twice a day
- Make sure that the aligners are in place at least 20 to 22 hours each day
Invisalign is one of the most convenient, comfortable, and discreet treatments available to patients with crooked teeth or a misaligned bite. If you’d like to learn more about the Invisalign treatment process, contact us at your earliest convenience or set up a personal consultation with Dr. Bruce Wilderman by calling (215) 340-1199.