Can I wear braces on just my lower teeth to correct an overbite? (photos)

Doctor's Answers (4)

Hello. The straight up answer is no. Let me explain. 

1. From your pictures, the upper and lower teeth close to meet each other in a tight interlocking position.

2. When arranging the lower teeth, the arch would become slightly bigger as the width of teeth is now aligned in a straight line. This occupies a larger circumference. 

3. Your bite will become compromised if we don't align the upper and lower arch in a correct manner. The function and feel will be uncomfortable, and your teeth will be edge to edge. 

Thus it is not possible in your case to just do treatment in one arch only, unless we trim in between your lower teeth without widening the arch.

I wouldn't personally suggest creating space by trimming alone. Hope this helps!

Thank you for your enquiry.

Unfortunately I would have to agree with Drs Lim and Toh, it would be best to treat both upper and lower jaws for overbite correction. A increased overbite, which is what you present with, is an increased overlap of the upper and lower teeth. The ideal overbite should be about 1-2mm. The reason for this increased overbite is due to both the upper and lower teeth, and not only the lower, hence in order to correct the overbite we would need to level and align both the upper and lower teeth to reduce the overbite. If you look from your side profile photo, your upper front teeth are coming downwards in the front, contributing to the overbite.

Furthermore, your bite is pretty tight, so straightening your crooked lower teeth without treating the upper teeth would require some filing in between the teeth to create space to decrowd the teeth.

Controlled shaving or filing the teeth can help to make teeth look less sharp, and if done properly (not excessively), the teeth do not become sensitive. However, I would advise for you to have any filing done after you have straightened your teeth, as the positions of the teeth may change and the sharp teeth may not look as sharp. Minimizing any filing would be ideal.

Braces or invisalign treatment for both upper and lower teeth would be ideal to straighten your teeth and improve your overbite. However we do understand that some patients only want to treat the area of concern, as long as they understand the limitations of such treatment. Share your concerns with your dentist or orthodontist and I'm sure they will be able to customize a treatment plan that will suit your needs.

With regards to pricing, kindly fill in the form below to obtain a quotation for your treatment.

Thank you and all the best.

Dr Jaclyn Toh

"Dentist with an interest in comprehensive dentistry."

Many patients are keen to treat only the teeth with the worst perceived alignment (in your case, the lower incisors only). 

It is a misconception that one jaw treatments are easier than treating all the teeth comprehensively, unless the misalignment is extremely mild (only involving 1 or 2 teeth, that are very close to ideal alignment).

At the end of treatment even for both jaws, you WILL still have an overbite, since this is considered a normal feature that has functional benefits.

Some cons of treating only the lower jaw include:

1) Difficulty ensuring a good bite at the end of treatment, since the upper and lower teeth may not fit together harmoniously. You may not be able to bite on all your teeth evenly.

2) Difficulty gaining enough space to align the lower incisors fully since they will be trapped behind the upper teeth. This means you may have to accept a compromise in the final result.

From the photos, your teeth do not look excessively sharp. I do not like filing down teeth just for the sake of making them look straighter as this is an irreversible procedure (even though the filing will not cause you tooth sensitivity IF done carefully) and having extremely level edges to your teeth can make you look older than you actually are, since this mimics the natural aging process of our teeth.

In fact, I tend to favour scalloped edges of the upper front teeth when making artificial teeth, since this has an anti-aging effect! This natural variation in edge positions also gives a very natural appearance to the final smile.

I would encourage you to get an assessment done in person and find a dentist that you are comfortable with to discuss ALL possible treatment avenues. This will ensure that you are well-informed about the course of treatment that you eventually choose.

Thank you for your photos. The majority of the orthodontic cases we treat have braces placed on both the upper and lower teeth. This is because besides straightening your teeth, we want the upper and lower teeth to fit well when you chew. 

In suitable cases, it is possible to do some filing down of the sides of the teeth to get enough space to align the crooked teeth. However, care must be taken as excessive filing of teeth can cause tooth sensitivity. 

It is advisable to visit an orthodontist for a thorough examination and consultation on the best option to straighten your teeth. 

For more information, please join us at our 'Smile.Sparkle.Shine' public forum at NDCS on 24th March 2018. 

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All content posted is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. This Q&A is not a patient consultation and any information provided herein is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified medical professional. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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