It’s not unusual for adults, and sometimes children, to ask if we can straighten just their top teeth. It sounds like a good idea – why straighten your bottom teeth if they don’t bother you? Unfortunately, it’s not always that straightforward.

Braces for your top or bottom teeth

We can fit braces to just your top (or bottom) teeth, but you may not achieve the outcome you hoped for.

Comprehensive orthodontic treatment improves the position of your teeth and your bite. If we only fit braces to one of your arches, it limits our control over the way your teeth bite together.

We could perfectly align your top teeth only to make your bite worse. A bad bite could impact the appearance of your smile and the way your teeth function.

To give you an example, if you have straight lower teeth and very crowded top teeth, braces will bring your upper teeth forward. This could create an overjet where your top teeth protrude past your lower teeth.

In a worst-case scenario, this could make eating difficult and leave your top teeth more vulnerable to knocks and injury.

Is single-arch treatment ever a good idea?

Before we start planning your treatment, we’ll meet you for a no-obligation consultation. Specialist orthodontist Dr. Jackie Bracken will assess your teeth and bite, and if they’re needed, we’ll take some X-rays of your jaws.

If we think that single-arch treatment could help, or even improve, the appearance of your teeth and bite, we’ll include it in your treatment options.

Here are some scenarios where braces on just your top teeth could be appropriate:

  • You have crooked top teeth that need bringing forward to improve your bite
  • You have protruding top teeth with gaps which would benefit from moving back

There are also circumstances where you may not be able to wear braces on your lower teeth, for example, if you are missing multiple teeth and wear a denture.

You might choose to go ahead with single-arch treatment and accept a compromised result. We can show you a 3D preview of your projected smile to help you decide.

iTero scanner

The benefits of treating both arches

We usually recommend straightening your upper and lower teeth together for several reasons:

  • It gives us maximum control and guarantees the best outcome
  • It’s more cost-effective than treating both arches separately (if you do change your mind)
  • We can fit retainers to both jaws to maintain your new smile indefinitely

If the thought of fixed braces on your top and bottom teeth feels a bit overwhelming, please let us know. If you’re worried about how you’ll adapt to wearing braces, we can fit them over two appointments.

Alternatively, we can look at a removable brace like Invisalign. It works using custom-made, clear aligners. There’s no metal or wires. You’ll work your way through a series of aligners, which are designed to align your teeth little by little.

You’ll need to wear your aligners for at least 20 hours every day. You should only take them out to eat, drink and brush your teeth.

If you’d like to talk to us about single-arch treatment, contact us to arrange your consultation in Clonmel or Newbridge.