Some people often ask if it’s alright to have braces on the upper or bottom teeth only. These people feel that a single arch of their teeth is already in excellent condition, and only that other arch has a problem. So, they don’t want to put braces on both.

After all, you can save money if you only have fewer braces. Of course, that’s a practical reason. Or maybe they simply don’t like their teeth fully braced.

Let’s go back to the question. Is it okay to put braces on the upper or bottom teeth only? Of course, there are several factors for you to know whether a single arch orthodontic treatment is right for you. If you’re thinking of having this kind of orthodontic treatment, read this guide before you visit the clinic.

What is a Single Arch Orthodontic Treatment?

For you to better understand this kind of orthodontic treatment, it’s necessary to define it precisely. First off, there are two crescent arrangements of the teeth which are also called dental arches. These dental arches, which form around each of our jaws, constitute what we call our dentition.

Now, there are times when dental issues like crooked or overcrowded teeth occur in the teeth development of a person. Thus, various orthodontic treatments like putting retainers and braces are done to align or adjust the arrangement of the teeth. Dental braces are typically done on both the lower and upper teeth. But there’s also a single arch treatment.

In a single arch orthodontic treatment, you can choose to put the brace or Invisalign on a single set of your teeth only, not both. However, to do this operation, the orthodontist makes sure that putting braces on a particular set of teeth won’t affect the function of the mouth or the “bite” when eating.

When Does This Orthodontic Treatment Can Be Effective?

In some cases, a single arch treatment can indeed be viable and effective. However, you have to know that the occlusion or position of the teeth when you close your jaws is highly complex, and you need a delicate balance of the upper and lower part of your teeth to do a bite.

For instance, the teeth tend to move backward when you try to close the gaps between them. On the other hand, when you try to create space between them, your teeth shift forward as they straighten.

In this case, if you put dental braces on a single arch of your teeth only, chances are the dental device may collide with the opposing arch, which can be the reason that you’ll have a difficulty of biting or chewing your food.

The single arch orthodontic treatment could only be effective if you treat a crowded bottom teeth and you got straight upper teeth and a moderate bite. Or, in the case of having an overbite, this treatment is right for you when your bottom teeth are perfectly aligned and if there are enough spaces between your upper set of teeth.

However, you need a skilled orthodontist who knows the specific degree spacing and crowding of the teeth to get the operation right. So you should make sure that your orthodontist has the knowledge and years of experience in doing this kind of orthodontic treatment.

The Risks of a Single Arch Orthodontic Treatment

As mentioned previously, you need to have proper function of both arches of your teeth, as well as your jaws, for you to perfect the complex process of biting. Although sometimes effective, a single arch orthodontic treatment has the risk to make it hard for you to bite or chew.

For instance, if the upper part of your teeth is crowding and you have an overbite, applying this single orthodontic treatment on your upper teeth may indeed make this arch look straighter, but the catch is that it will expand your overbite. Not only that you’ll have difficulty chewing in this case, but you also make your front teeth vulnerable to injury.

On the other hand, if you only choose to straighten your bottom teeth and you have an underbite, there’s a high chance that you disrupt your bite off despite making the appearance of your teeth better.

Moreover, since it naturally occurs that our bite deepens over time, there’s a tendency that there won’t be sufficient space for the movement of the back of the upper teeth and the front of the bottom teeth. As such, the braces on the bottom teeth would collide against the opposite arch.

Interproximal Reduction as an Alternative

Dental Braces

If you’re looking for an alternative to single orthodontic treatment that won’t mess with the process of biting your food, go for interproximal reduction. This technique has been around since the 1980s, and this can treat crooked or overcrowded teeth.

Interproximal reduction means getting rid of a tooth and bringing others closer together. Through this technique, it’s also possible to remove a tooth’s enamel and reduce its size.

However, you should see to it that you call an expert to do an interproximal reduction procedure. We’re talking about stipping away a tooth’s enamel here, and once the enamel is removed, it’s difficult to bring it back.

After the operation, it’s also a must that you upgrade your oral hygiene because halitosis and tooth decay are prone to occur once you have less enamel on your teeth.


There are a lot of ways to correct misaligned and overcrowded teeth. One popular technique of doing it is to put Invisalign or braces on the teeth to improve the patient’s orofacial appearance. If you know people who have braces, you’ll notice that this dental device is put on both arches of the teeth.

In light of this, some people are asking if it’s possible to put the braces on the upper or bottom teeth only. Yes, it’s possible, and this technique is known as a single arch orthodontic treatment. However, some risks come with it. So before you go to an orthodontist, it’s wise that you read this article so that you’ll know if this treatment is right for you.

Author Bio:

Sofia Larosa is a dental health blogger. She writes tips on how to achieve excellent oral hygiene and ways to improve a person’s orofacial appearance. Sofia consults experts at Beach Braces for her articles about dental health.