Has your dentist or orthodontist recommended that you or your child get braces? If so, it may be due to a variety of reasons. One of the most common orthodontic problems is crowding. When the jaw is not big enough to support all of the permanent teeth that come in, those teeth can become too tightly pressed together and may even overlap or turn sideways. This is most common on the bottom row of teeth, so much so that many patients wonder if they can get braces just on their bottom teeth.
The short answer is that it is possible, but it isn’t very common. There are a variety of reasons it is best to get braces put on all of your teeth at once.
Straightening Only the Bottom Row Can Cause Further Problems
While braces can help to alleviate crowding and straighten teeth, having them on one row and not the other can be problematic. If the teeth on your bottom row are crowded, straightening them out may cause problems with your bite. An important part of orthodontic treatment is bite correction, or adjusting the top and bottom rows of teeth so that they meet together properly. If you only make changes to the bottom row, there is a good chance that they may not meet properly with the top row afterwards.
Incorrect bite pattern is one of the leading reasons many people need braces. Overbite (the top row goes too far over the bottom row), underbite (the top row meets behind the bottom row), crossbite (some teeth meet in front and others meet behind), or open bite (the teeth don’t meet at all) can all cause major problems from tooth damage to severe jaw pain and headaches.
Full Mouth Braces Can Completely Correct Teeth and Bite
Most orthodontists recommend getting braces on all of your teeth at once. When you get braces on both the top and the bottom rows of teeth, your orthodontist can make the necessary corrections to ensure all of your teeth are in the proper position and that your top and bottom rows of teeth meet correctly.
Sometimes orthodontic treatment requires the use of rubber bands to correct bite patterns. Rubber bands hook between the brackets on the top row of teeth and the brackets on the bottom row to help align the bite so that the teeth meet together properly. Without having a full mouth of braces, this strategy would not be possible.
Braces Are Not Just a Cosmetic Treatment
Sometimes there is a misconception that the purpose of braces is to make your teeth look better. While that is part of the purpose, there is much more to orthodontic treatment than perfecting your smile. As mentioned above, braces correct problems in order to keep the teeth and jaw healthy. Just because your bottom teeth may be the only ones that look crooked, doesn’t mean there aren’t any problems that involve the top teeth.
In some rare cases, there may be a situation where a patient truly only needs bottom row braces. If that is the case, your orthodontist will consider that option for treatment.
Smith Orthodontics Wants Your Smile to Be Healthy
At Smith Orthodontics, we are not just about making your teeth look nice. We want you to have a healthy set of teeth that will last for your lifetime. That may mean that you’ll need to wear braces for a while, but the end result will be worth it. You’ll be able to smile with confidence and know that your teeth and bite are in proper alignment. As long as you wear your retainers and take good care of your teeth, they should remain in place for the rest of your life.