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“Can I have single arch aligners to straighten one arch only?” – Answering your questions!

teeth aligners

Table of contents

#1 Single arch aligners – Inside the science of teeth straightening

#2 Can I straighten one arch only? Do single arch aligners work?

#3 Arch expansion with invisible aligners

#4 Why do some dentists offer single arch treatment?

#5 The Straight Teeth Direct method

So you want straighter teeth, but you only want either your upper or lower teeth straightened. Are single arch aligners something you should consider? Can you get aligners for just top teeth? Or for your bottom teeth? These are all natural questions to ask, and we actually get them all the time!

#1 Single arch aligners – Inside the science of teeth straightening

Arch expansion is one of three methods by which space can be created to straighten teeth in orthodontics. Even though there are more options, arch expansion is the only non-invasive solution.

For an introduction and visual explanation on the topic, make sure to check out the video below. In it, Dr. Aalok Y. Shukla explains how one dental arch affects the other and why dentists may or may not straighten only one arch.

Make sure to keep reading below after you watch the video!

#2 Can I straighten one arch only with single arch aligners?

The most important aspect in cosmetic teeth straightening is to achieve a fully functional, healthy and naturally straight smile that you are happy and confident with. This almost always means that both arches need to be treated with teeth aligners to some extent. 

Your upper and lower dental arches work together to form your bite, and a healthy bite is important for many things from speaking to eating. The function of the upper and lower teeth is interlocked, any changes in one arch will affect the other. 

In rare cases, one arch might actually already be aligned. If the other arch isn’t widened or aligned, there is a risk that your teeth won’t stay as straight and they’ll want to move back to their previous position.

Whatever the case may be, teeth aligners work by creating space and expanding your dental arch so that teeth can rotate and move into their new optimal position.

#3 Arch expansion with invisible aligners

The way most clear aligners work to create more space is by combining tooth movement with IPR. This is an invasive procedure, as it involves removing thin layers of your enamel to make teeth smaller, creating space for them to sit next to each other.

At Straight Teeth Direct, we straighten teeth non-invasively using arch expansion. This involves moving the teeth into their optimal positions by adjusting the shape of your dental arch and moving teeth small fractions of a millimetre at a time. Teeth are often crooked as a result of a narrow constricted jaw. In order to move the teeth into their new straighter position, the arch needs to be expanded. This makes your jaw, and the row of teeth in question, less v-shaped and more rounded.

Each invisible aligner creates up to 0.2mm of movement when worn correctly. And that’s 22 hours a day for 2 weeks per aligner, giving your teeth enough time to gently move and settle in the new position. Over the course of several months and many aligners, space is created to allow the right tooth movements to transform your smile. 

With programmed arch expansion  if your case is approved as suitable you won’t need IPR and all your treatment can be done and supervised remotely. At Straight Teeth Direct™ all cases are designed and programmed with arch expansion in mind, giving you the best results possible with a non-invasive approach.

Arch expansion

In some instances, you might only want to use single arch braces to close a gap in your upper teeth.  To do so, your other teeth in that arch would need to be moved back slightly to allow a proper biting position. If it wasn’t done it could result in your upper teeth hitting the edges of your lower teeth: a suboptimal bite position! That is why aligners will also be necessary for your both arches to ensure a balanced bite.


#4 Why do some dentists offer single arch treatment?

Even though it might look like only one arch needs straightening, both the lower and the upper arches require treatment in the vast majority of cases. Single arch treatment is extremely rare. So why do some dentists have one arch treatment as a regular offer?


4.1 Teeth straightening cost 

Unfortunately, aligners price is an issue for many clinics and patients, so single arch braces are sometimes used to reduce the overall cost. Aligners are specialised, custom medical devices that are usually produced by third party manufacturers. So, your local clinic simply can’t sell them at a more affordable price point.

You might wonder “How much do aligners cost for top teeth only?”. Well, that depends entirely on the clinic/provider. With some clinics offering an average price of around £1800 per dental arch, that’s practically the amount of a fully monitored at-home aligner treatment for both arches with Straight Teeth Direct.


4.2 Tooth Extraction or IPR

Instead of straightening both arches, some dentists may suggest creating space by extracting a tooth or using IPR (interproximal reduction) to reduce the size of individual teeth. This is sort of a shortcut. You may end up with teeth that look too small or a lower jaw that’s too far back. Furthermore, these procedures are irreversible, so it’s advisable to consider them as a last resort.


#5 The Straight Teeth Direct method

Clear aligner and hand

Our goal is to help you get a smile you love. We don’t want finances to be a barrier, so we don’t charge per arch like many clinics do. Instead, you get all the aligners you need to achieve your straighter smile for one, all-inclusive fixed price. On average, you can save 50% to 70% compared to other teeth straightening solutions available on the market today.

To prepare your new 3D smile simulation, impressions of both top and bottom teeth are always needed. Your case requires the same attention by the lab and your assigned dentist. Mainly because we want all users receive the same level of care and end up with a 5-star experience.

To find out more and ask questions specific to your teeth before getting started with teeth aligners, make sure to complete your free e-consultation, in which you will answer some questions and upload pictures of your teeth to find out if this at-home method is right for you.


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