Updated: Oct 15
A pack a day smoker that is about to start Invisalign, what can possibly go wrong? Do you need to quit smoking before you start or can you still do it?
Can you smoke with Invisalign?
You cannot and should not smoke while wearing your Invisalign trays. However, since you can take your trays on and off, it would be preferable if you removed them prior to smoking.
Just to be clear, we are not recommending nor encouraging smoking since it is hazardous to your health and may cause lung cancer. It is simply that if you were going to ignore our advice and do it anyway, it is better to take your Invisalign off before you take a drag from your cigarette.
Consequences of smoking with Invisalign
There are consequences to smoking with the Invisalign trays on such as staining them and damaging them. Both of which you don't want to do because they can delay treatment or defeat the purpose of wearing Invisalign.
Tobacco stains. Smoking while wearing Invisalign can severely stain the trays because the tar from the cigarettes will cause them to discolor. Cigarettes will stain your natural teeth so there is no reason why they would not stain the plastic aligners. This would defeat the purpose of getting Invisalign over braces because if the aligners stain, they won't be as clear and see-through. You will no longer have "invisible braces" if you smoke while wearing Invisalign.
In addition to staining the trays, you can also cause a lot of staining around the Invisalign attachments. Normally the attachments should be clear and translucent but if you smoke a lot, they can start turning brown or yellow in color.
Melting trays. If you smoke while wearing your aligners, you can potentially permanently damage the trays beyond repair. The reason is because your Invisalign is made out of plastic and your smoking produces high heat. If you combine heat with plastic, they will MELT. Therefore if you smoke with the trays on, you can potentially melt them. This can cause another problem because melted plastic on your teeth can cause a whole host of other problems!
Last but not least, whenever you remove the trays to smoke, it detracts time away from you wearing them. In order for your teeth to move, Invisalign requires you to wear your trays for 20-22 hours per day. That figure is just enough time for you to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That means if you try to squeeze in multiple smoking breaks, you may not be reaching the 20-22 hours per day minimum of wearing the trays.
If you don't wear the trays for the specified duration of time, your teeth may not move as planned. This will not only delay treatment but may also require mid-course corrections and probably refinements at the end. All of this means that it will take MORE time for you to finish straightening your teeth.
Can you smoke non-tobacco substances instead?
Since cigarettes have tar in them, are you wondering if you can smoke other things instead? Unfortunately you should still not smoke other substances while wearing Invisalign.
Weed or Marijuana. You should not smoke weed with Invisalign because the heat can still damage the trays. Also when you're high, a side effect of marijuana is the desire to eat. You should know that you have to remember to take off the trays to eat and then brush before you put them back in. If you're high, you may forget to do both and may even forget to put the trays back on! This can severely delay the progress of straightening your teeth.
Cigars. Cigars also have tar and they can burn through your trays as well. In fact, it usually takes a longer time to smoke a cigar so it may be more harmful than cigarettes.
Hookah. Hookah sessions can last for hours so if you have to take off your Invisalign before you smoke, you may not be wearing your trays for enough hours per day. Don't forget that you need to wear them for at least 20-22 hours per day for your teeth to move properly!
Other unidentified substances. We don't know what you want to smoke but you probably shouldn't do it. People have tried smoking all sorts of things even if they can't be smoked. Please don't do it, thank you.
An overall theme with smoking and Invisalign is that they will stain your trays yellow or they will melt them. Basically, smoking in general will stain your teeth and your trays are no exception to the rule. They will change colors, that we can promise you.
Aside from that it can be dangerous since the heat can potentially melt the trays. It doesn't seem very safe to have plastic melting all over your teeth. That can turn into a dental emergency!
You should not smoke with Invisalign because it can not only stain your trays but also melt them. That will not only extend the treatment time but is also hazardous to your health. You really don't want to get cancer and have to undergo chemotherapy while you're trying to straighten your teeth in vain.
Our recommendation is to take the trays off if you need to smoke. That way you can prevent them from changing colors and also damaging them. Although the best thing to do would be to completely quit since it is the best thing for your health which you can do.
Author: This article was written by Dr David Chen, a cosmetic dentist in long island city.