Can I Get Invisalign Even Though I Use Chewing Tobacco?

I’m supposed to get Invisalign this week. It’s been a major goal of mine for years to be able to do this and I’m really looking forward to starting it. The problem is that back when I did my consultation a few months ago, my dentist told me that I needed to stop using chewing tobacco before I started. I hear that every time I visit a doctor, so I kind of tuned it out and made a mental note to give quitting a try again, at least a few weeks before I was supposed to start. Since I haven’t quit yet, will she still give me Invisalign? I’ll probably taper off within the coming weeks and I only do it a few times a day anyway.

Dear Allan,
For the best possible orthodontic outcome, tobacco products of any kind shouldn’t be used. Aside from the obvious health concerns, nicotine reduces blood flow within your mouth and causes a host of other issues. This can decrease the effectiveness of treatment and increase the risk for having tooth decay, as well as gum disease. Many dentists will choose not to treat people with elective procedures, like Invisalign, unless they stop using tobacco well in advance. Whether your particular doctor has this rule is an individual choice.
If you decide to go forward with treatment, despite your chewing tobacco habit, cut back as much as you can, with a quit-date goal in mind. Don’t use chewing tobacco with your trays in. The biggest concern here is that you’ll wind up with bits of stuff trapped along the edges, which will likely wind up becoming a hot-spot for decay. You’ll need to take great care to brush and floss each time you chew, before you put the aligners back in. A secondary concern is cosmetic, as you’ll probably stain your trays if you leave them in while you chew.
The best thing you can do is to quit using tobacco. If you need help, your dentist may be able to direct you to local or state resources. Let him know where you stand and go from there.

This blog is sponsored by Elgin dentist, Dr. Steve Sirin.

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