Can You Get Braces on the Upper or Lower Teeth Only?

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La Grange, IL – Every once in a while, we get asked if we can put braces or Invisalign on only a single arch. In other words, the patient wants either the top or bottom teeth straightened only. Is this possible?
Patients ask this question for a variety of reasons. Some patients only have crooked teeth on the top or bottom. In some cases, the bottom teeth can’t be seen that well, so the patient thinks that – by getting only one arch straightened – they may be able to save money. Unfortunately, orthodontics doesn’t quite work that way. Let us explain.

Single Arch Orthodontic Treatment

The dental arches are the two arrangements of teeth in a crescent shape that make up what is known as dentition. Each jaw has one of these arrangements. Single arch treatment, also known as one arch orthodontic treatment, is when the orthodontist uses Invisalign or braces on the upper or lower teeth only instead of both arches.

In certain cases, to achieve proper alignment, orthodontists begin with braces on the upper teeth and then on the lower teeth, or the other way around. However, keep in mind that this is not the same as single arch treatment as the orthodontist eventually puts Invisalign or braces on both the upper and lower teeth.

When an orthodontist opts for single arch treatment, the decision is made only after your bite is thoroughly analyzed – a bite is a relationship between your upper and lower teeth and how they fit together. You should keep in mind that getting braces on only one set of teeth, whether it is the top or bottom, will affect your bite. Only when your bite works together perfectly can orthodontics said to be successful, and that usually requires both arches to be treated.

When is Single Arch Orthodontic Treatment Effective?

That is not to say that single arch treatment isn’t possible. Your orthodontist can put Invisalign or braces on just the upper or lower teeth. These are rare situations, however, as the bite is extremely complex, and a delicate balance is required to align it. When gaps between the teeth are closed, they tend to shift backward. When space is created between the teeth, as in cases of crowding, teeth tend to move forward while straightening. As the front teeth move backwards or forward, there is a possibility of them running into the teeth on the opposing arch, which then creates new bite issues that you did not have before.

For example, if you have straight upper teeth, but your lower teeth are crowded, it could be effective to get single arch treatment only on your lower teeth. Or, if your upper teeth have gaps between them and your lower teeth are straight, and you have an overbite, getting treatment on your upper teeth only could eliminate the gaps and decrease your overbite.

Keep in mind that it would have to be a very specific degree of spacing, overbite or crowding for single arch treatment to be possible. Additionally, not everyone is a good candidate for this type of orthodontic treatment, and the best way to determine if you can get the treatment is to have a consultation with a board-certified orthodontist.

To determine if you are a good candidate for single arch treatment, contact Battistoni and Beam Orthodontics, serving patients in La Grange (708) 352-4500 and Oak Park (708) 848-5900, for a free consultation.

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