When it comes to orthodontics, every patient has different needs. Not all treatments are appropriate for everyone. Orthodontic services are customized based on the specific way each patient’s teeth need to be moved in order to be in proper alignment. That means that some patients may only require braces on their bottom teeth.
That may seem unusual, and it is not the typical method for most patients (which is a full set of braces on the top and bottom). But it is appropriate and effective for patients whose bottom teeth need straightening but whose top teeth do not.
Why Get Braces On the Bottom Only?
In some cases a patient only has crowding or misaligned teeth on the bottom jaw but not the top. The top teeth could be straight while the bottom teeth are crowded in behind the top teeth, requiring straightening. Misaligned bottom teeth could also cause an underbite (where the top teeth go behind the bottom teeth when the patient bites down) or a crossbite (where some teeth from the top go behind the bottom or vice versa when the patient bites down). Realigning just the bottom teeth could correct these issues.
What are the Potential Problems With This Method?
There’s a possibility that once the bottom teeth are straightened, the bite may be out of alignment. Sometimes the bottom teeth are crowded in order to fit behind the top teeth when the patient bites down. Once those bottom teeth are straightened, they may no longer fit under the top teeth, resulting in an underbite. In order to correct the bite, it may be necessary to get braces on the top teeth as well so that both the top and bottom teeth can be realigned at the same time for best results.
What Types of Braces Can Be Used on the Bottom Teeth?
One piece of good news is that getting braces on just the bottom teeth does not limit your options for orthodontic treatments. Your choices still include:
- Metal Braces. Traditional metal braces are still believed to be the most effective at aligning teeth and bite patterns. New technology has made metal brackets smaller and more comfortable, such as H4 Braces that are self-ligating brackets, meaning they do not require metal ties or elastics to attach the crosswire to the brackets.
- Clear Braces. Ceramic braces are designed to be clear so that they are less obvious. Ceramic brackets are also tie-less like H4 Braces and can also be used on bottom teeth only.
- Invisalign. Invisalign, a popular alternative to braces, uses clear plastic aligners that fit over teeth and gradually shift them into proper alignment. This method can also be used for just the bottom teeth if the top teeth do not need to be straightened.
- Lingual Braces. Lingual braces are metal but fit behind teeth so that they are not readily visible. This is an option for some patients whose teeth can be shifted into proper alignment from behind. When used behind the bottom teeth only, they are almost completely unnoticeable.
Following your Orthodontist’s Advice is Always Best
Even if you think you only need braces on your bottom teeth, there may be less obvious reasons that top teeth braces would also be beneficial. Orthodontists are experts in the alignment of teeth and bite patterns and may notice subtle issues that are not obvious, but could be a problem if not corrected. Full-mouth treatment, no matter what type of treatment you choose, may be the best option to ensure your teeth and bite are properly aligned.
Why Visit Greater Hartford Orthodontics?
The experts at Greater Hartford Orthodontics specialize in treating both children and adults. For some, proper alignment of teeth requires treatment starting in childhood and continuing into the teenage years and even early adulthood to complete the process. The warm and caring staff at Greater Hartford Orthodontics will be there throughout your journey and will rejoice with you when your smile is complete.
Call (860) 667-8277 today to schedule a consultation or request an appointment with Greater Hartford Orthodontics.