Consultant Orthodontist with over 25 years' experience

Can Smoking Affect Orthodontic Treatment?

Can Smoking Affect Orthodontic Treatment?

In the UK, the 13th March is the National No Smoking Day, an annual event aims to bring awareness to the dangers of this addiction and to help smokers who want to quit smoking. This year, the tagline for this campaign is #TellUsYourWay. The idea is to encourage smokers to tell their friends and family the day that they have chosen to quit smoking, and how they will go about quitting. By letting other people know of their decision to quit can strengthen the commitment of the smokers as well as getting support and motivation from their loved ones.

It is widely recognised that smoking is harmful to our health. Smoking has been linked to increase lung and heart diseases as well as causing several cancers.  Beside, it also has an adverse effect to oral health.

In addition, smoking causes discolouration of the teeth and bad breath as well contributing to develop periodontal gum diseases. Periodontal diseases, if left untreated can lead to irreversible damage of the teeth and gums, such as tooth loss and bone loss. Smokers have a much higher risk of developing oral cancers and healing time following oral surgery treatments will also be lengthened.

Smoking and orthodontic treatment
There is no denying that smoking is bad for oral health.  Smoking also poses several negative impacts on orthodontic treatment:

  • Smoking does not only cause discolouration of the teeth, it can also cause Invisalign clear aligners to become discoloured. Invisalign is an extremely popular form of discreet orthodontic appliance as the system is completely transparent and removable. However, when the aligners become stained it can make them easily visible. 

  • It is not just Invisalign aligners that can be affected by smoking. Ceramic and clear braces can become discoloured or stained especially around the areas of the teeth by the brackets.

  • Smoking can prevent braces from working effectively. This is because in order for braces to align the teeth properly, the hard and soft tissues that support the teeth and bones must be healthy. Smoking causes constriction of all blood vessels, therefore the blood supply to the gums, bones and periodontal ligaments is compromised and reduced.
  • Restriction of blood supply to the teeth and supporting tissues can cause the gums to swell, become sore and more prone to infections including periodontal diseases. As a result, if patients smoke whilst they are undergoing orthodontic treatment, they may find that their treatment will take much longer to complete and to achieve the desired effect.

If you are a smoker, the best way you can celebrate the “No Smoking Day” is to take the opportunity to choose to quit.  If you are committed to good oral health, and want a beautiful smile, quit smoking is an important step that can lead to many health benefits. The decision to quit may not be easy on you, but it is clearly worth it as your general health will improve within hours of you stopping the habit!  

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For more information on how smoking can affect orthodontic treatment, or to arrange a consultation to align your teeth with Orthodontist Mary Lo, please call 020 7129 7878 or send a message online.