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A 18-year-old female asked:

Is it possible to just get braces on the top and have the same results without the bottom being affected?

19 doctor answers28 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Mcnay
Dentistry 27 years experience
Half and Half: It sounds like you may just want certain teeth moved on your top jaw. This is a legitimate request. Your orthodontist would be the best person to ask. The cost benefit may not be as much as you may hope because better long term results may be achieved by doing both arches. For sure though it is a question worth asking. Enjoy the process!
Dr. Louis Sterling
Prosthodontics 38 years experience
Probably not: Since you top and bottom teeth meet together, when teeth on one arch are moved, usually the teeth on the opposite arch need to be moved also to make sure that they continue to meet properly. It's hard to get a great result with out controlling both arches together.
Dr. John Thaler
Prosthodontics 42 years experience
Not likely: The arches must line up with each other. If there are changes on the top, then there must be room to move them and the proper position available on the bottom to do this. Therefore the bottom teeth need to be positioned accordingly.
Dr. Stephen Carter
Orthodontics 45 years experience
Perhaps: It depends on what you are trying to accomplish with the braces and just what the problem is with your upper teeth. More often than not, your orthodontist would prefer to do both upper and lower arches in order to finish with a proper bite and occlusion. Your local orthodontist should be able to tell you the pros and cons of just treating the top.
Dr. S. jay Bowman
Dentistry - Orthodontics 37 years experience
In rare instances: Since upper and lower teeth are designed to work together in function, we usually would like to straighten them and fit them together. In some circumstances, braces only on the upper may be used. If you're looking at this as a question of economics, be very cautious; trying to compromise in tougher cases that would benefit from upper and lower braces may result in problems.
Dr. Anh Tran
Dr. Anh Trananswered
29 years experience
Yes and no: It really depends on the individual occlusion ( bite) . It can be done in selected case for example if the patient has a perfect class i canine and molar occlusion and the lower arch is perfect and upper anterior teeth have some rotations or relapsed from previous ortho tx . In short every case is different and need to be evaluated to determine if upper braces can be used only to achieve result.
Dr. Elizabeth Robles
27 years experience
It is possible.: It is possible - depending on how the bottom teeth are aligned towards the top and many other factors play into this. The orthodontist has to evaluate your bite in order to come to this conclusion.
Dr. Byron Bonebreak
45 years experience
Perhaps: If the treatment changes in the upper teeth are minimal (such as closing a few small spaces) , it may not upset the way they fit with the bottom teeth. However, the vast majority of cases benefit from treatment of both the upper and lower teeth in a coordinated manner. Contact a local orthodontist and make him or her aware of your desires. One arch treatment is not much cheaper than both arches.
Dr. Joseph Greenberg
Specializes in Prosthodontics
Depends: Every one is unique. If your problem truly only requires upper braces then it is very smart and correct for the dentist/orthodontist to just address that.
Dr. James Vito
Prosthodontics 38 years experience
Depends: It depends upon what your objectives are. If it is to straighten the teeth out it is possible. If it is to pull your upper front teeth back then no because your lower teeth will prevent the upper teeth from moving back.
Dr. Tony Menendez
38 years experience
Usually not: If you correct the upperteeth you usually must make the upperand lower fit together .. This will require lower ortho in most cases.
Dr. Andres Carbunaru
Dentistry - Prosthodontics 25 years experience
It is possible: It is possible when the amount of movement is very simple ( too little), without changing the bite relationship.
Dr. Robert Tupac
Specializes in Prosthodontics
Yes: Today there are simple ways to gently move teeth to make them straighter.
Dr. Arnold Malerman
Orthodontics 54 years experience
In some cases: In orthodontics we seek to create the best possible occlusion for each patient. That usually means treating both upper and lower at the same time. Check with your orthodontist to see if 1-arch treatment is a viable alternative for you. To have "straight" upper teeth that do not mesh properly with lower teeth is counter-intuitive.
Dr. Robert Stoner
Dentistry - orthodontics 39 years experience
Not a good idea: In 30 years of practice i think I have done this less than one out of 500 patients.
Dr. Arnold Malerman
Orthodontics 54 years experience
An appropriate ratio.
Dec 14, 2016
Dr. Gary Lederman
Dentistry 41 years experience
Yes: Anything is possible. Invisalign and conventional ortho can be done to enhance alignment of front teeth. That said, such an approach fails to address the issues in the back of the mouth that contributed to the position of the front teeth, leaving a greater tendency for relapse.
Dr. David Schleimer
A Verified Doctor commented
A US doctor answered Learn more
It sort of like clapping with one hand.
May 26, 2013
Dr. Hilary Baskin
Orthodontics 29 years experience
dr. Schleimer-- agreed!
Jun 24, 2013
Dr. Gary Lederman
Dentistry 41 years experience
Provided original answer
Agreed! Not the best approach
Jun 24, 2013
Dr. Richard Reinitz
40 years experience
No: Both upper and lower teeth have to be moved so that fit into each other. If you just do one arch than your teeth won't match up.
Dr. Hilary Baskin
Orthodontics 29 years experience
No benefit: no real reason to do just one arch as the time required, and thus what you pay for, is about the same. So why not allow the orthodontist to get perfect for the same cost/time rather than fixing half your issues?
Dr. Arnold Malerman
Orthodontics 54 years experience
I usually get this question when patient looking to save money. False economy.
Dec 14, 2016
Dr. Stuart Hoffman
31 years experience
Upper Braces Only: If you get braces on your top teeth only, there is NO WAY to get the same results as having both upper/lower braces. An orthodontist cannot coordinate how your upper/lower teeth come together with only upper braces. Hope that helps.
Last updated Nov 27, 2017

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