While you can get braces on your top or bottom teeth only (deferred to as single or one-arch orthodontic treatment), it’s only suitable some patients. For most, it may not be the most ideal treatment plan.
It’s not that common but some patients only need single arch treatment. They may already have perfect teeth on one arch and a simple crowding or spacing problem on the other that they would like corrected. Other patients are aware that neither arch is perfect but only one row of teeth bothers them enough to seek orthodontic treatment.
Fitting braces on one arch only is purely for cosmetic purposes and can’t fix most orthodontic problems. In fact, braces on one arch and not the other can fix one problem and make another worse. Braces on both arches simultaneously is the best orthodontic treatment for most patients.
Braces on Top Teeth Only
Our top teeth are on display whenever we talk, smile or eat. Some people are self-conscious about the look of their top teeth and feel they could be improved. They could want an attractive smile to help with self-esteem and feel their bottom teeth aren’t as noticeable so just want to change their top teeth.
If budget is limited, patients may consider having top row braces only to save on costs. Fitting braces only on the top teeth can be for cosmetic purposes only. It isn’t possible to fix a crossbite, overbite or underbite without being able to move both the top and bottom teeth. But for patients who don’t have a bite problem but don’t like their crooked tooth or space on the top row of teeth, top row braces can work.
Braces on Bottom Teeth Only
Bottom braces only are less common than top teeth only. Bottom teeth aren’t as visible when smiling so patients are more inclined to treat their top teeth. However, crooked bottom teeth are noticeable when speaking so patients may fix the problem with bottom teeth braces. Crowded and twisted bottom teeth may also cause a bite problem which braces can correct. There are patients who are happy with their top teeth and just want to fix a crowding problem or similar on the bottom arch.
Single Arch Treatment Can Cause Bite Problems
The biggest problem with single arch treatment is the bite. The bite is a complex relationship between the two arches and the jaws. A misaligned bite is the main reason an Orthodontist will recommend braces for upper and lower teeth. If you are using braces to fix a crowding problem, the straightened teeth will move forward. If it’s a spacing issue, a patient wants closed, teeth will move backwards. So, if a patient with crooked bottom teeth already has an underbite before single arch treatment, the underbite will become worse.
With crowded top teeth, an overbite will become more pronounced after treatment. A deeper overbite can make chewing more difficult and leave the top teeth more susceptible to injury. Therefore, single arch treatment may be effective at solving one problem but can actually make a bite problem worse.
For some patients, applying braces to only one arch isn’t workable. If they don’t have enough room between the front of the bottom teeth and the insides of the front teeth, the braces won’t fit or will rub against the top teeth. It requires treatment of both arches to overcome this problem.
Considering Orthodontic Treatment for Your Child?
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Discuss your Options with an Orthodontist
Before deciding on single arch treatment, talk about your options with your Orthodontist. It’s important that all factors are considered before deciding if single arch treatment an option. You might be a good candidate or your Orthodontist may recommend you get braces on both arches to solve multiple problems. Your Orthodontist will explain the benefits of both options, so you can decide for yourself which treatment method you want.
You can make a no-obligation appointment at The Orthodontists by calling (08) 9364 8020 or booking an appointment online.