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A guide to getting braces on your six front teeth

April 2, 2024
A guide to getting braces on your six front teeth

When your biggest dental concern is the look of your smile, you might be wondering why orthodontists bother adding braces beyond the first six teeth. While there are some instances where it is suitable and safe to only treat the six front teeth, there are still plenty of considerations that patients need to keep in mind.

Can you straighten just front teeth?

Treating the six front teeth is purely for aesthetic improvements of these teeth, and is most popular with adults. Sometimes it is possible to straighten just your front teeth, however, this is best determined by your orthodontist.

What are partial braces?

Partial braces are an aesthetic treatment that does just what we described above – straighten your six front teeth. Brackets are attached to the most visible front teeth along with a shorter archwire than usual. Partial braces are not able to address an underlying jaw alignment problem or a bad bite, which makes them an incomplete treatment that orthodontists don’t often recommend.

What is single arch orthodontic treatment?

Ever noticed how your top and bottom teeth follow a rough U-shape or arch? That’s why they’re known as dental arches. With single arch orthodontic treatment, braces are glued to either your upper or lower teeth. As with partial braces, this treatment is chiefly for aesthetic purposes as it won’t fix any serious alignment issues with your mouth or jaw.

Still curious? Here’s everything you need to know about getting braces on your six-front teeth.

Why do you need bottom braces?

There are many reasons why someone may need lower braces, or a full set of upper braces beyond just the front six teeth. Lower braces are not necessarily prescribed for aesthetic reasons, as these teeth are usually less visible except when you’re speaking. If you have crowding or twisting in your lower teeth, or any bite problems which braces can correct, your orthodontist may suggest lower braces or a full set of top and bottom braces. (better to use the term upper and lower braces). Sometimes, people get upper and lower braces at different times although generally orthodontists a single treatment to align your jaws and teeth. Without both upper and lower braces in place, bite correcting elastics cannot generally be worn, which limits the scope of orthodontic treatment than can be provided. 

Can you get just lower braces? 

If you don’t have any major bite concerns, and your orthodontic issues only call for lower braces, your orthodontist may prescribe these on their own – either on the outside of your teeth with traditional metal or ceramic braces, or perhaps even lingual braces that sit on the inside of your teeth. Ultimately, it depends on the needs of your teeth and jaws.

Do lower teeth move faster than the upper teeth with braces? 

Not necessarily. In general, how fast your teeth move with braces is different for everyone and depends on the treatment type and the severity and individual characteristics of a patient’s malocclusion.

Why do people get braces on their six front teeth only?

For most people the six front teeth are the ones that are most visible when you smile. As such, these front teeth are the ones we feel most self-conscious about and therefore want to straighten. This makes this type of treatment purely cosmetic, and if not considered in the context of the rest of your mouth, it may not be what is best for you.

While straightening just the front six teeth may be fine if you have very minor malocclusion, it’s important to speak to an orthodontist about how this type of procedure could affect the long-term and health of your teeth, gums and bite.

Can braces work in 3-6 months?

The main reason patients may choose braces for just their six front teeth rather than pursuing full treatment is the shortened time frame and perceived reduced cost.

On average, these quick braces may take anywhere between 3 to 6 months, depending on your unique teeth and jaw configuration. This may be less than half the time of a full treatment, which may take anywhere between 1 year and 3 years. However, a reduction in treatment time is usually coupled with a limitation of treatment.

It’s important to note that treatments can be quicker, while some treatments take a little longer. It all depends on how crowded or spaced your teeth are, and how well they fit together (i.e., your bite).

braces for two teeth

What are the benefits of braces on your six front teeth?

Virtually none! Adults are most likely to get braces for just their front teeth. Many individuals who elect to get this type of braces to choose to do so because they do not want to commit to long-term treatment. They also may not require orthodontic treatment for irregularities of the jaw and simply want to improve the look of their smile. But there are several full treatment clear aligner or other types of braces options for adults that are less obvious visually and more effective in addressing underlying issues such as misaligned jaws. 

There are several full treatment clear aligner or braces options for adults that are inconspicuous and address underlying issues such as misaligned jaws.

Why do some people get upper and lower braces at different times?

Your orthodontist might recommend you get upper and lower braces at different times. This will boil down to the condition of your teeth and what type of treatment you may need.

Having said that, most orthodontists will recommend you have both upper and lower braces at the same time so you can save time and money further down the track.

What braces options are there?

Adult braces options range from traditional metal and ceramic braces, to discreet lingual braces and in some cases, even clear aligner treatments. When you consult a specialist orthodontist, they will discuss the available options to find the most appropriate treatment for you. This plan will be based upon presenting concern, your needs and your individual features.

Many adults believe braces are just for straightening teeth, but that’s just one of many myths of orthodontics. Because braces for your six front teeth are for aesthetic purposes only, they do not address the underlying causes of crowded teeth, or a bad bite. As such, they are considered an incomplete treatment by most orthodontists.

The risk of partial braces

If you choose to get braces for just your six front teeth, irregularities in your jaw and underlying issues with your bite will not be resolved. There are potential long term risks associated with this incomplete treatment, including jaw pain, unnatural wear of your teeth or increased risk of orthodontic relapse (meaning your teeth will go back to their original position).

There are further limitations to only treating your six front teeth. How quickly your teeth move is biologically determined. Therefore, a short or reduced treatment time may not fully straighten your teeth and they may remain slightly crowded. Furthermore, when someone smiles, it usually incorporates the front eight to ten teeth and may even include all top teeth. Therefore, focussing on just the six front teeth will not completely straighten the smile.

As with all orthodontic treatments, prices may vary for six front teeth braces. Although they may cost less than comprehensive orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will confirm the fee and if such treatment will be effective in your individual case.

invisalign for front teeth only

Consult a specialist orthodontist

The types of treatment that are suitable for your smile and the duration of your treatment will depend on the relationship between your teeth and jaws. You should consult a specialist orthodontist to have a thorough assessment of the health of your smile. They will provide you with a range of options to address your concerns; from improving the aesthetics of your six front teeth to improving your bite as well.

Want to find out what options you have to improve the look and health of your smile? You can use our Finder Tool to find the right specialist for you.

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