Getting braces only on the bottom teeth, known as a one-arch treatment, may seem like a cost-effective way to address severe issues without paying for a full set of braces or Invisalign. However, braces do more than correct crowding. They can also change how a person bites, correcting deep structural issues in the way their jaw and ligaments line up with their teeth.
This means that even if one dental arch is more crowded than another, your orthodontist may want to use a full set of braces to correct other issues and avoid structural imbalances. As always, speak with your provider about your unique case, but continue reading to learn about bottom teeth braces and why most orthodontists do not recommend them.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
What is a Dental Arch?
A dental arch is one of your two rows of teeth. You have a bottom and top arch, either of which can become misaligned. Misalignments can include not only crowding in the teeth but displacements in the jaw alignment as well, a group of conditions that orthodontists call “malocclusions.” Your doctor may prescribe treatment options such as braces or Invisalign to correct not only the malocclusions but also to prevent the health issues that untreated misalignments can cause.
These include chewing, biting, and speaking difficulties, a misshapen face, breathing problems, and can even lead to tooth decay since crowded teeth are more difficult to properly clean. Your orthodontist will scan and visually examine both of your dental arches to determine whether your symptoms are caused by a dental misalignment and which treatment options are right for you.
This will involve an in-depth analysis of your bite to determine whether braces can help correct it. The reason that single-arch braces are not usually prescribed is that fixing a patient’s bite is a complex process that requires meticulously balancing both arches, which is much easier with a full set of braces. Oftentimes, with only one row of braces, movement on that arch can cause equal yet opposite shifts on the other arch, creating new problems despite solving some of the old ones.
As an example, crowded teeth can contribute to an overbite, which is where the top row of teeth juts out too far in front of the bottom. Braces can correct this issue. But by only putting braces on the top arch, the overbite can increase in size even as the teeth straighten, which can cause other issues.
What are Bottom Teeth Braces?
Despite the potential drawbacks, your orthodontist may sometimes recommend that you or your child would benefit from having braces only on one arch, such as on the bottom teeth. This is most commonly prescribed in adults that are no longer growing since uneven changes in their oral structures are less likely to produce new problems. In those cases, an orthodontist may recommend Invisalign or braces for only one arch to correct the most severe malocclusions while saving the patient time and money.
However, with many major issues like a deep bite, cross bite, or severe misalignment, single arch braces are often not a viable option.
Alternatives to Bottom Teeth Braces
Choosing an alternative to bottom teeth braces requires knowing why you don’t want a full set in the first place. If you’re concerned about the appearance of conventional braces due to your job’s requirements or your confidence level, you may want to opt for Invisalign, which can often be used to treat the same issues as braces more subtly.
Another potential option is lingual braces, which are attached to the back of your teeth rather than the front. They are not applicable in all cases, but you can ask your orthodontist whether they would work for you.
Sometimes, if a child’s nerves or lack of confidence are what drive a parent to seek less visually obvious options for braces, the solution could be much simpler. Talking to a young child before they receive their braces may help them accept them as a help rather than a burden. Orthodontists also offer options like colored braces (often with hundreds of options that can be changed at each checkup) to allow kids to feel in control of their treatment, which can lead to them having fewer nerves about it.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.