Can you wear braces on your top teeth only?

If you’re just looking to straighten your top teeth, you may be wondering if you need to wear braces on your bottom teeth too.

Occasionally it’s possible to carry out single-arch treatment, and just fit braces to your upper or lower teeth. Usually, though, we need to straighten both arches to achieve a good outcome.

Teeth straightening with bite

We want to give you a smile that looks incredible and lasts a lifetime.

During your free consultation, our specialist orthodontist won’t just be looking at your teeth. We’re also interested in the relationship between your jaws and how your teeth bite together.

Orthodontic treatment can align both your teeth and arches to give you a beautiful smile and a healthy bite. Ideally, when you bite together, your upper top teeth should slightly overlap your bottom teeth, and your back teeth should interlink.

Achieving a sound bite is an essential part of orthodontic treatment. If your teeth don’t bite together correctly, it can cause pain, speech problems, difficulty chewing and uneven wear.

The challenges of single-arch treatment

When we fit braces or aligners to both the top and bottom teeth, we can control the position of your jaws (within certain limits). If we only attach braces to your top teeth, your bite may improve, or it could get worse.

Crowded teeth tend to move forward as they’re aligned while teeth that are widely spaced move back. If you have crowded top teeth and straight bottom teeth, orthodontic treatment will bring your top teeth forwards. Depending on the position of your jaws to begin with, this could improve your bite, or it could create an overjet, where the top teeth protrude.

Meanwhile, if you have spaces between your top teeth, straightening them will bring them back, which could create an underbite. This is where the bottom front teeth sit in front of your top teeth.

When it’s possible to wear top or bottom teeth braces

Specialist orthodontist Dr Iain Hoeltschi will be able to tell you whether you’re suitable for single-arch treatment during your free consultation. Some patients are fortunate and moving just the top or bottom teeth improves their bite.

If you’ve had orthodontic treatment before, and your top or bottom teeth have shifted slightly, you may be suitable for upper or lower teeth braces. Moving your teeth back should realign your arches and restore your bite.

We also have techniques to minimise bite discrepancies. Interproximal reduction (IPR), for example, can be carried out during orthodontic treatment to create space and improve your bite.

IPR involves the careful removal of enamel from between your teeth. Done properly, it won’t impact the health of your teeth. It can also help to reduce the likelihood of ‘black triangles’ between your teeth and gumline.

Choose from our invisible, removable braces

If you only want to straighten your top or bottom teeth because you’re apprehensive about wearing braces, we have some discreet solutions.

Invisalign straightens teeth using a series of custom-made removable aligners. It’s very inconspicuous, and there isn’t a metal bracket or wire in sight.

We also offer clear fixed braces, which are very unobtrusive compared to metal braces. We can even fit lingual braces behind your teeth if you really want to hide your treatment.

To find out more about your options, and whether single-arch treatment is right for you, contact us to arrange a free consultation with a specialist.

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