Braces are typically placed on both the top and bottom teeth at the same time, but it’s possible that you’ve seen someone with braces on their top teeth only. Or maybe you’ve considered bottom braces as a singular treatment for yourself.
Either way, patients sometimes ask us about a ‘single arch’ orthodontic treatment and how it can benefit their smile. So, how can you tell if a top or bottom-teeth-only treatment is the right decision for you?
How well you benefit from single-arch orthodontic treatment comes down to the severity of your dental condition and the position of your bite.
Yes, a person can get braces (or invisible braces) on the top or bottom teeth only, if his or her orthodontic condition allows. This doesn’t mean single-arch braces are ideal, though. In fact, many orthodontists advise against single-arch orthodontics.
When single-arch orthodontics don’t work:
- Patients who have malocclusions, or poor bite conditions, require braces on both the top and bottom teeth to realign the jaws properly. In these cases, a single-arch treatment will shift one dental arch, leaving the other arch in its problematic position. No progress is made in correcting the bite when only the top or bottom teeth are affected by a treatment. A single-arch treatment could even worsen your bite condition!
- As conditions like gapped teeth often form in the upper dental arch, orthodontic treatments are utilized to bring the teeth together, which shifts the arch backward. When the top (or bottom) arch is shifted backwards and the other arch remains in its same position, an underbite may develop.
When single-arch orthodontics do work:
- Many patients have one dental arch that is mildly crooked or crowded, while the other arch is aligned and straight. With less severe conditions, one-arch orthodontics is a possibility. If our doctors determine that you’ll benefit from top or bottom-only braces without altering the condition of your other arch or your bite, we may suggest a single-arch orthodontic treatment.
Single-arch treatments are rare occurrences, as they’re only beneficial in select cases. Getting braces on only the top or bottom teeth could incite more damage than benefit.
The best way to determine whether it’s in your smile’s best interest to get braces on only your top or bottom teeth is by visiting our office! Our orthodontists will assess your smile during your free initial exam to help you understand whether a single-arch treatment will help your smile--or hurt it.
If you have any questions prior to your free exam, please reach out to us! We are a Gold Plus Invisalign® orthodontist, and our goal is to bring you affordable orthodontics with exceptional care. We provide adult braces, braces for kids and braces for teens.