Can you get braces just for your top or bottom teeth?
Dr. Todd Ehrler
Table of Contents
- How Braces Help
- Recommended Approach
- Twice the Braces
Close your eyes and imagine a person wearing braces. Chances are, you think of brackets and wires crisscrossing both upper and lower teeth. But what if you could cut the metal in half and get braces on just the top or lower teeth?
It's common for consumers to consider wearing braces on just half of their mouths. But it's not always smart. Despite what you might think, the approach may not save you money.
More than beauty: how braces help your bite.
A healthy, beautiful smile exposes all of your central and lateral upper incisors, beauty experts say. The rest of your teeth stay covered by your lips when you smile. Shouldn't you focus your braces on the parts of your teeth others can see?
It's critical to remember that your teeth aren't beauty accessories. You also use those teeth for tasks such as:
Your teeth don't work in isolation. Upper and lower sets come together to form your bite, and even tiny adjustments can have big repercussions.
Adjust just one part of your mouth, and your front and back teeth could come together with excessive force, experts say. You could chip or crack your teeth each time the set comes together. You could also exert too much pressure on your bone and gums.
Conversely, changing just one part of your bite could stop your teeth from meeting at all. A big gap could make chewing impossible, and it could put excess strain on your muscles and tendons.
Do experts recommend this approach?
Dental professionals are concerned with cosmetic factors. They want your smile to look as beautiful as possible. But they are also concerned with mouth mechanics and overall health. You might notice that only one part of your teeth looks crooked or unusual. A dental professional might see something very different.
Some dentists say single-arch braces are appropriate for minor tooth movement, including:
- Mild overbites.
- Overlapping teeth.
- Minor crowding.
- Tiny spaces between teeth.
But other experts, including aligner companies like Byte, don't offer this form of treatment. Teeth should be adjusted in unison, they say, and it's just too risky to treat some teeth while leaving the others untouched.
Will you save money?
Consumers often think of dental treatments as packages. If you cut the needed therapy in half by treating one set of teeth and not the other, you should save money, right? Experts don't always agree.
To adjust your smile, dental professionals must:
Assess Your Teeth
Create A Plan
Supervise The Moves
These same steps apply whether you're moving one set of teeth or both. If you're hoping to skip movement on one arch to save a chunk of money, you might be disappointed.
Orthodontists say, for example, that braces on one arch can cost about $5,000 upfront, while full braces cost about $6,500 upfront.
Twice the braces.
You want to improve your smile, but you want to save money. And you want to ease pain. There are plenty of things you can do to meet your goals without putting your health and your bite at risk.
If you're considering single-arch braces due to these common concerns, it's time to think again.
Your smile showcases your beauty. But your teeth are critical to your health.
Don't let misconceptions keep you from the care you need. Ask questions and do your homework to ensure that you get the treatment that's right for your mouth and your health.
Smile Science: The Anatomy of a Smile. (September 2011). Portland Monthly.
Does Your Child Really Need Braces? Reader’s Digest Canada.
Is Single Arch Treatment Good for Your Patients? (October 2017). Orca Dental.
Frequently Asked Questions. Byte.
Orthodontic Treatment Costs. Impression Orthodontics.