We'll answer this one right away. Can you get braces just on your bottom teeth? Sure! Should you get braces just on your bottom teeth? Probably not.
Why One-Arch Orthodontic Treatment Isn't Recommended
There are times when a patient is happy with their top teeth, but wants to make adjustments to their bottom teeth. Or maybe they’re not entirely happy with the top or the bottom, but they feel that the bottom teeth are worse and need treatment first.
These patients come to our orthodontic practice asking for braces on the bottom arch only. (Or, sometimes, the reverse happens and they want braces only on the top arch.) It seems like this would make sense––why straighten the top teeth if they're fine? And braces only on the bottom would be half the price of a full set of braces!
It makes sense in theory, but not in practice. Straightening teeth is only part of what we deal with as orthodontists. Even more important is aligning the bite. There's a delicate interplay at work when you have braces on both the top and bottom teeth. If braces are only on one arch, as those teeth shift, they can become misaligned with the other arch, causing or exacerbating under-, over-, or cross-bites. In non-technical terms, things just get out-of-whack.
You may think you're solving the problem of crooked bottom teeth, but you could end up creating a new problem with your bite.
Alternatives to One-Arch Orthodontic Treatment
One reason why patients may request braces on their bottom teeth only is because they feel this would be less noticeable than braces on both arches. In these instances, we recommend Invisalign treatment. Invisalign aligners are made from clear plastic; most people won't even know you're wearing them and you can even remove the aligners for special occasions. In some cases, brackets can be affixed to the backs of the teeth instead of the fronts as another alternative to traditional braces.
The other reason is economic: if their bottom teeth are more crooked than the top, patients want to save money by skipping straightening the top teeth.
We understand that braces are expensive, but as orthodontists, we will never perform treatments that we believe will leave your bite in worse shape than when you started. In rare circumstances, single arch braces may be an option, but for most patients we recommend braces on both arches. To help you pay for this, our clinic offers financing through CareCredit. Many dental insurance plans cover all or part of the cost of braces and you can use both FSA and HSA money towards the cost as well.
Learn More About Getting Braces
We’d love to discuss your treatment options with you in person! Contact us to make an appointment at one of our three Minnesota locations.