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.
Treating the six front teeth is purely for aesthetic improvements of these teeth, and is most popular with adults. Some orthodontic appliance brands specialise in this type of treatment, which means it is possible to straighten just your front teeth in some instances.
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 affixed to either your top or bottom 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.
There are many reasons why someone may need bottom braces, or a full set of top braces beyond just the front six teeth. Bottom 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 bottom teeth, or any bite problems which braces can correct, your orthodontist may suggest bottom braces or a full set of top and bottom. Sometimes, people get top and bottom 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.
If you don’t have any aesthetic concerns, and your orthodontic issues only call for bottom 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 (link to lingual braces article?). Ultimately, it depends on the needs of your teeth and jaws.
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.
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.
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.
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 inconspicuous 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.
Adult braces options range from traditional metal and ceramic braces, to discrete 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.
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. As a general guideline, these braces may cost $1500 or more depending on your orthodontist’s fees and your individual needs.
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 the most 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 Find an Orthodontist Tool to find the right specialist for you.