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Why Do I Need Aligners for Both Arches If I Only Want to Change One?

When it comes to choosing invisible aligners to transform your smile, the duly licensed dentists and orthodontists in our provider network recommend using aligners on both your upper and lower teeth. While many customers may only be concerned with crowding in their lower teeth or a gap in their upper teeth, both arches need to be considered.

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We spoke with Dr. Dowling, an orthodontist in the SmileDirectClub network, to get his take on it.

Fixing crowding or spacing changes your bite. To keep the bite correct, you need to work with the other arch too.

We see a lot of people who have crowding in their lower teeth, but they’re fine with their upper teeth. So they may only want to get the lower teeth corrected. But if you’re realigning your bottom teeth, you have to widen the shape of the upper teeth to match, or the bite can be affected.

Not only can ignoring the opposing arch cause issues with the bite, it can also result in dental relapse. “My goal isn’t just to straighten teeth, but to keep them straight,” Dr. Dowling said. “In order for long-term stability, we need to adjust the opposing arch so it will fit with the arch we’re changing.”

The same principle is true for correcting spacing in your teeth. As gaps are closed, the shape of the arch changes. The arches need to be symmetrical to ensure a good bite, so the bottom teeth may need to be adjusted, even if you’re primarily concerned with a gap in your upper teeth.

Transform Your Smile

Are you considering invisible aligners to transform your smile? We make it easy to get started with our free smile assessment and risk-free evaluation. You’ll either receive an at-home evaluation kit or get a 3D scan at one of our SmileShops, and a provider in our network will then prescribe and oversee your treatment remotely.

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