La Habra/Chino Hills, CA – Sometimes orthodontic patients ask for braces only on their top teeth – they don’t see the point in getting braces on the bottom teeth because they look straight enough, and after all, the bottom teeth are barely visible. But is it possible to only straighten one part of your smile? How can that affect your mouth? Dr. Robert Gire, a Chino Hills orthodontist explains.
“Getting braces only on your top teeth sounds appealing,” says Dr. Gire. “Your top teeth are the most prominent, so why not focus your time and finances on what people see most often. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.”
That’s because your smile is about much more than just if it looks straight. Your bite needs to fit together properly in order to prevent damage to your smile. If your top and bottom jaws are not balanced properly, it can throw your entire bite off. Straightening only one section of your smile is likely to do just that, causing more problems than you started with.
“Orthodontics is about much more than only aesthetics,” says Dr. Gire. “We work hard to create a beautiful smile that functions properly. That means assessing the bite relationship between the jaws and ensuring we’ve created a harmonious and balanced bite that can last a lifetime. Straightening your top teeth may make them look better to the eye, but it may be causing a headache for your overall dental health.”
In rare cases, patients may be candidates for single arch orthodontics – correcting only one part of the smile. A small percentage of patients with overbites or underbites could be candidates for this treatment, which uses orthodontics on only the top or bottom teeth.
The reason why this is rare is because although the teeth may look nicer to you, your bite will most likely be thrown off. An uneven bite can cause a host of issues that can send you to your dentist’s office more frequently. From pain, such as jaw pain and headaches, to teeth that chip, crack and break, an uneven bite can be painful and expensive.
“Whenever we are crafting a treatment plan, we look extensively at the bite relationship between the patient’s upper and lower jaws to determine how we can not only create a more beautiful smile but ensure that the bite fits together properly and functions as ideally as possible,” says Dr. Gire. “Orthodontics is much more complex than just a pretty smile. We have to work hard to ensure the patient’s jaw can distribute forces evenly so the patient can speak and chew properly and to make sure there won’t be uneven wear on the teeth or unnecessary stress on the joints.”
Crowded teeth tend to move forward when straightened, but when we work to close a gap the teeth shift back. So, for patients with overbites and crowded top teeth, braces on their top teeth would make their teeth look straighter, however, it could exaggerate the overbite and throw off how the teeth meet. Likewise, bottom only braces to correct underbites will likely worsen the underbite. These treatments may make your teeth appear straighter, but they will be creating more issues in the long run.
Orthodontists work incredibly hard to create treatment plans that are personalized to each individual patient and their needs. The best way to determine the most ideal way to address your orthodontic issues is through a consultation with a board certified orthodontist. He or she will have the knowledge and skill to craft a treatment plan designed just for you and your smile goals. Dr. Gire and his team have the experience and expertise to provide their patients with the smiles of their dreams, safely, efficiently and effectively. Call Gire Orthodontics today at 562-690-1199 (La Habra) or 909-393-9911 (Chino Hills).