Some of my patients that have more mild misalignment of their teeth, or considerable misalignment on the top or bottom teeth only, often wonder if they can just have braces or Invisalign on the top or bottom teeth only. It is a good question, and the answer really depends on the person’s individual issue with their teeth, and their unique bite. Bellow are several useful points and examples to consider if you were wondering about this for yourself or your child.
- Lets say you had orthodontic treatment in the past, but years later one of your upper front teeth has started to rotate noticeably. Your bite has otherwise remained healthy and stable. This is a case where I very well may be able to treat this issue with braces or a clear aligner limited to the upper teeth only (or lower teeth if the minor movement has occurred here). If the tooth movement can occur without disrupting your bite and will place the tooth in a healthy, aesthetically pleasing position, this is a great and comparatively simple option. Many adults that are noticing teeth starting to shift could benefit from this type of treatment.
- Now lets say you have noticed a number of your lower teeth are misaligned or have shifted. An important thing to picture is an analogy that I use often. Your teeth should fit together similarly to a shoe box: the upper teeth are the lid, and the lower teeth are the box itself. The lower box needs to fit within the confines up the upper teeth. If just your lower teeth are crowded or overlapped (more than just several teeth merely rotated), aligning these teeth requires gaining more space. Or to use the shoe box example, if we treated the lower only, the box would need to be expanded, and would no longer fit the box lid (the upper teeth. These situations are a bit more involved than the first example above. And this is not a bad thing- read below!
- I reassure people that I do not set fees by whether we place upper braces, lower braces, or both. Most often , it makes treatment easier, faster, and more successful if we treat both the upper and lower- thus I do not charge more for both than I do for one. Of course, in the first example with the more minor movements, we would want to keep things as limited as possible, and the fee will reflect that.
- Likewise, Invisalign as a company does not differentiate with their pricing whether we treat the upper, the lower, or both. Invisalign fees are initially set by the number of trays that need to be switched to align teeth on ONE arch, and the other is included. Any more than 10 trays is considered a full Invisalign case, 10 or less is a limited case, of which there are several options.
If you have any questions at all about which options would be best for your teeth, please call us for a complimentary consult.
Dr. Dan Rejman is a Board Certified Orthodontic Specialist in Castle Rock, Colorado, and he has treated over 9,000 orthodontic patients!