How to Straighten Your Top Teeth

How to Straighten Your Top Teeth
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How to Straighten Your Top TeethClinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. Top Teeth Straightening Options
  2. How to Choose
  3. References

Today’s orthodontic technology offers options for nearly everyone, including those who are looking to only straighten their top teeth. 

However, many dental professionals will require that their orthodontic appliances — whether they’re clear aligners or traditional braces — be applied to both the upper and bottom teeth, even if it appears that only the top teeth are the key to correcting your smile. 

This is because the movement of any teeth within the mouth will affect the overall bite. A person’s teeth are relational to each other and to the jaw.1 As a result, any action within the bite could cause a reaction, or another movement. 

By treating both the top and bottom teeth, all movement can be controlled and monitored to ensure balance and an even bite.

Options for Straightening Only Top Teeth

People who only need to correct half of their smile by fixing their upper teeth may be confused about their options, unsure if they’ll have to undergo a full treatment when they only have issues with their top (also called maxillary) teeth.

Braces

Traditional (metal) braces use brackets that are cemented to the teeth and connected by wire. The wire is tightened throughout treatment in order to apply the pressure needed to move teeth into their desired location. To keep the teeth from shifting after treatment, a retainer is worn.

While it is possible to treat only the top teeth with braces (called single or one-arch orthodontic treatment), most orthodontists will opt for a whole-mouth treatment to avoid shifting or bite problems.

These are other types of braces:

  • Ceramic braces: These are created with the same structure and design as metal braces, but with clear brackets or brackets that match teeth color to make them less noticeable. Often, the wires are clear or tooth-colored to blend in as well.
  • Lingual braces: For lingual braces, the brackets and wires are placed on the back of the teeth. This makes them much less visible, but it can be hard to get used to. They’re also more expensive, and the required adjustment appointments may be longer and more uncomfortable. 

Aligners

Aligners are designed to gradually reposition teeth. When first starting the aligner process, impressions of your teeth and bite are taken. Dental professionals use that initial “snapshot” of your bite and teeth to picture your ideal smile. 

Software is used to create a treatment plan. This involves a series of aligners that you progress through, generally switching to a new aligner set every two weeks or so.  

The number of aligners needed, and when they are switched out, will depend on the unique needs of the patient. Once treatment is complete and the ideal smile is achieved, a retainer will have to be worn to avoid teeth shifting. 

Clear teeth aligners are incredibly popular, and it’s easy to see why many people opt for them over traditional braces. In addition to being much less noticeable, they require less in-office appointment time, and they can easily be removed or adjusted as needed. 

Today, there are many aligner options on the market, including in-office and mail-order options. 

Just as with braces, most aligner providers will not treat only the upper teeth, even if it appears only the upper teeth require straightening. Rather, they will treat the whole mouth to protect the jaw and bite, and to ensure the best smile and outcome possible. 

Mail-Order Aligners

Mail order aligners allow patients to complete the entire aligner process from home. No in-office appointments are necessary. 

A patient receives a home impression kit, sends it back, and receives a customized aligner treatment plan. A medical professional in charge of treatment can monitor progress remotely through virtual check-ins or photos. 

These are some of the top mail-order aligner providers:

byte

With top reviews and a confident lifetime guarantee (called the Byte for Life guarantee), byte is among the most reputable names in the industry. Their HyperByte high-vibrational device uses smart science to reduce discomfort and improve performance.2 

Their prices are affordable, with payment plans available as well.

SmileDirectClub

Their patients can opt for an in-office appointment or an at-home kit for impressions. They will then be sent their aligner treatment plan. 

Their laser-cut aligners feature trademarked treatment technology that includes Smart Sculpt and Comfort Sense.

ALIGNERCO
This company offers a completely remote treatment plan, beginning with an at-home impression kit. Their customized clear aligner kits are among the most affordable on the market.

In-Office Aligners

In-office aligners allow patients a more traditional dental or orthodontic experience, ideal for those looking for more face-to-face time or support from their dental professional. 

These are some popular in-office aligner choices:

Invisalign
Easily the most recognizable name in clear aligners, Invisalign providers offer patients in-office care and a selection of Invisalign-specific services and products, like their trademarked 3-D tooth scanning technology, precision wings, and Vivera retainers.
ClearCorrect
An alternative to Invisalign, ClearCorrect was created by a dentist in 2006 and offers clear, customized aligners.
Candid
A hybrid between mail-order and in-office options, Candid requires patients to meet with a dental professional for their initial impression consultation. After the initial meeting, a patient is sent their aligner treatment plan, as well as CandidMonitoring tools that allow for a virtual check-in every 14 days.

Straightening Your Top Teeth: It’s a Matter of Choice

If you were hoping that because only your top teeth are problematic you might only need to treat half of your smile, you may be disappointed. Most orthodontists and aligner providers will require that you treat the entire mouth in order to avoid problems later and achieve the best smile and bite possible. 

Even if your bottom teeth appear straight, the movement of your top teeth may affect your bite in ways you couldn’t anticipate. Let a provider advise you on the best path forward.

The technology and teeth straightening options available to consumers today make it easier than ever to fix your upper teeth. When your desired smile is achieved without unexpected teeth shifting or an imbalanced bite, you’ll likely be happy that you treated your whole mouth.

General References 

Braces. Mouth Healthy, from the American Dental Association (ADA). Date Fetched: April 3, 2022.

Types of Braces. Oral B. Date Fetched: April 3, 2022. 

Orthodontic Treatment With Clear Aligners. (June 2018). American Association of Orthodontists. Date Fetched: April 3, 2022. 

Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners and The Scientific Reality Behind Their Marketing: A Literature Review. (December 2019). Turkish Journal of Orthodontics. Date Fetched: April 3, 2022.

Clear Aligners in Orthodontic Treatment. (March 2017). Australian Dental Journal. Date Fetched: April 3, 2022.

Straightening Your Teeth Is the Latest Pandemic Project. (January 2021). Self. Date Fetched: April 4, 2022.

Invisible Braces 2022: 5 Companies That Offer Them at Home Without a Dentist Visit.  (January 2022). CNET Health. Date Fetched: April 3, 2022.

I Tried Byte's At-Home Teeth Aligners, and I Never Thought I'd Be This Excited About Braces. (March 2021). PopSugar Beauty. Date Fetched: April 3, 2022.

Best Teeth Aligners Of 2022. (January 2022) Forbes Health. Date Fetched: April 3, 2022.

Medical References

1 How Our Teeth and Jaws Work Together. (January 2019). InformedHealth.org.

2 The Effects of Brief Daily Vibration on Clear Aligner Orthodontic Treatment. (November 2018). Journal of the World Federation of Orthodontists.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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