Everyone wants straight teeth and a gorgeous smile, but what if you only have crooked top teeth? Most orthodontic treatments are designed to address crookedness on both the bottom and top teeth, but when it comes to Invisalign, this rule may be more flexible. At Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX, we tailor your treatment to your exact needs, even if that means only your top teeth need to be straightened.
Can You Get Invisalign for Upper Teeth Only?
Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to only have Invisalign for the top teeth. Usually, people only seek to straighten the top teeth when the bottom teeth are reasonably straight and secure without any hint that crookedness may occur in the future. In fact, many people have straight bottom teeth and crooked top teeth because of upper jaw formation.
If you only want to use invisible aligners to straighten your top teeth, then you will need to attend a consultation with an orthodontist. Most experts only recommend straightening the top teeth if the alignment between the top and bottom jaw is fairly even. Because Invisalign will not generally change the shape of your jaw, if your side alignment is okay, then only straightening the top teeth may be acceptable.
How Is Alignment Determined?
The alignment of your top and bottom jaw is important because it has to do with your bite ability, which is how you can chew food. If your bite is misaligned, then you will have trouble eating. A misaligned bite can also lead to tooth damage down the road when teeth don’t fit together snuggly. For example, people with a misaligned bite may be more likely to chip teeth or deteriorate the enamel of a tooth, leading to easier cavities in the future.
Who Are Good Candidates?
If you only want to use clear aligners to straighten your upper teeth, then you will need to meet a few requirements. A consultation will be able to determine whether this treatment plan is appropriate for your goals and the current alignment of all your teeth. Single-arch treatments are truly only suitable for a subset of patients who are treating minor superficial concerns, such as:
- Gaps and spacing
- Mild crookedness
- Crooked or misaligned smile zone teeth
If you have a crossbite or overbite, single-arch clear aligner treatment may not be suitable. Even if your bottom teeth are straight, misalignment can cause some difficulty. While clear aligners can’t make drastic changes, you may require a different orthodontic treatment to address misalignment with the bottom and top arches. We will recommend the best treatment plan for your needs.
Occlusion is the bite relationship between your top and bottom teeth. If you are approved as a good candidate for clear aligners for the top teeth only, then your treatment plan will be tailored to ensure your natural occlusion will be unaffected by the treatment. This means that we will ensure the outcome of your alignment will not interfere with a natural, healthy bite.
How Does Single Arch Invisalign Work?
As you might imagine, there isn’t too much of a difference between single-arch treatment and double-arch treatment. You should expect the same treatment process for single-arch clear aligners, starting with the exams and X-rays needed to build the aligners to your specifications. The only difference between these treatments is that you will only need to wear the top aligners.
To get the best results with clear aligners, you will need to wear the aligners for at least 20 to 22 hours a day. The more often and more consistently you wear your clear aligners, to more reliably your results will develop. If you do not wear your aligners long enough each day, then you will delay your overall treatment timeline. After you have achieved your ideal results, you will need to wear a retainer for the foreseeable future to ensure teeth do not move when the treatment is complete.
Most of the time, clear aligners can straighten teeth or correct mild cosmetic concerns in about six months to one year. During your treatment, you will change your clear aligners several times. Usually, aligners are changed every two to three weeks, with each new aligner slowly moving your teeth into a straighter position. Throughout your treatment, you will attend several follow-up appointments so your orthodontist can check your progress.
Clear Aligner Rules
When you use clear aligners, there are several rules you will need to follow. While traditional braces will not allow you to have certain foods or drinks. you will not have any dietary restrictions with clear aligners. However, you will need to remove your aligner during mealtimes and anytime you drink a non-water beverage. Keeping your aligners in while you eat may allow food and bacteria to be trapped between the aligner and your teeth; the durable plastic of the aligner is also not designed to withstand the pressure of eating.
Be sure to practice good oral hygiene when you have clear aligners. You should always brush your teeth before replacing aligners and you will benefit from brushing the aligners before placement, too. Flossing is also recommended. Please do not use mouthwash while the clear aligners are on your teeth. We may give you other specific rules to follow after your consultation.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do You Have to Straighten the Entire Top Row?
One of the loveliest things about Invisalign is the amount of customization the treatment can withstand. Clear aligners can be designed to correct the alignment of several teeth, a particular zone of teeth, or even a single crooked tooth. If you have mostly straight teeth except for a few in the smile zone, then it’s completely possible to have aligners created that will only straighten the front teeth.
2. Can Traditional Braces Only Straighten Top Teeth?
Traditional braces are usually reserved for those who have moderate to severe misalignment. While not common, it’s possible for traditional braces to only be applied to the top or bottom teeth. However, the same rules apply: single-arch treatments are only appropriate for those who do not have severe misalignment between their bottom and top teeth that would interfere with a healthy bite pattern.
3. Do Single-Arch Aligners Save Money?
Currently, the price of both traditional braces and clear aligners is very similar, although many traditional braces are slightly cheaper. However, a single-arch treatment may be able to save you money in the long run, particularly if your dental concern is mild and can be corrected more quickly. Paying for a single-arch treatment can be more affordable if you qualify for this type of treatment.
4. Why Do People Consider Clear Aligners?
Orthodontic care is fairly common around the world, but the last few decades have seen a rise in more thoughtful ways to provide teeth straightening treatments. Many people consider clear aligners instead of traditional braces because they are less noticeable, which is preferable for those who do not want to draw attention to their treatment. Clear aligners are also considered by people who have mild to moderate cosmetic concerns since using clear aligners is a bit easier and more comfortable than traditional braces.
That said, traditional braces are the best option for people who have advanced or severe alignment concerns. Traditional braces provide a stronger solution for straightening very crooked or very gapped teeth. Although you may desire clear aligners, they may not be appropriate for your orthodontic needs.
Think About Invisalign for Top Teeth Only
If you have mildly crooked teeth or other cosmetic concerns on the top teeth only, then you may have considered the possibility of an orthodontic treatment only for your upper arch. The good news is that clear aligners for the upper teeth only is possible if you meet certain requirements. The biggest requirement is having a bite pattern that will remain healthy even when your teeth have been straightened. Your orthodontist will be able to determine if you are a qualified candidate during a consultation.
Only straightening your top teeth is a good option for those who have naturally straight bottom teeth. Many people who have crooked teeth in the smile zone can use single-arch clear aligners to correct their cosmetic concerns. Single-arch treatment is appropriate for both young people and adults, particularly those who have good dental health. Please contact Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX to schedule your Invisalign consultation today.