Many patients who come to Glow Orthodontics ask if they can get braces only on their top or bottom teeth. In some cases, their top teeth look straight, and they only want to improve crooked teeth on the bottom. Or they want their top teeth straightened and don’t want to worry about minor issues with their bottom teeth.
Even though it is possible to provide orthodontic care to just your top or bottom teeth, this treatment, called single arch orthodontics, is complicated. Ultimately, deciding whether it’s a good option for you depends on numerous factors that are unique to your teeth and bone structure.
Braces are more than a cosmetic treatment
You may think of braces as a great way to improve your appearance. And orthodontic care does make an incredible difference in your smile. You can use braces to eliminate gaps between your teeth, straighten crooked teeth, and correct a bite problem, such as an overbite (when your upper front teeth overlap your lower teeth) or an underbite (when your lower teeth extend out more than your upper teeth).
However, braces do much more than give you a beautiful smile. Correcting orthodontic problems protects the health of your gums, teeth, and jaws, as well as overall health. Crowded, crooked, and overlapping teeth make it hard to clean and floss, increasing your risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
When your teeth are crooked or misaligned, they don’t fit together properly when you bite down. A bad bite causes uneven pressure on your teeth. As a result, some teeth are subjected to more pressure than they can manage, which leads to cracked and damaged teeth.
Misaligned teeth also affect the health of your jaw. When your teeth don’t mesh the way they should, they can force your jaw out of alignment.
Factors that affect decisions about single arch orthodontics
All your teeth must be in the proper position to ensure you can chew and bite without worrying about excessive wear-and-tear on certain teeth. Straightening only the top or bottom teeth has the potential to make your bite worse.
For example, closing a gap between teeth tends to make the teeth shift backward. And if we create more space for crowded teeth, they move forward as they straighten. This natural forward and backward movement has a big impact on your overall bite. Putting braces on only the top or bottom teeth can create new problems that weren’t there before, especially if there is a tooth trapped in the jaw that requires intervention to erupt.
For these reasons, we always begin with a comprehensive dental exam, and then we take X-rays to thoroughly examine the position of each tooth. Using a detailed image of your teeth, we can analyze how moving one tooth impacts the surrounding teeth and the fit between your top and bottom teeth. Then we can determine if you’re a good candidate for single arch braces.
Whether you get a full set of braces or single arch orthodontics, you can still choose from several different types of braces. We offer traditional metal braces, self-ligating braces, clear ceramic braces, lingual braces, and the most popular choice for many, clear plastic aligners.
To learn if you’re a good candidate for single arch orthodontics, call the Glow Orthodontics location that’s most convenient for you, and schedule an appointment.