Having crooked bottom teeth only is a common occurrence experienced by many adults and children. Usually patients with such a tooth deformity ask that only their bottom teeth should undergo the teeth straightening process. This would make sense to a lay person however orthodontics also looks at proper bite and alignment of teeth, which is crucial to avoiding essential dental conditions such as overbite or underbite. The cost of obtaining braces for bottom teeth only is a consideration that many people look into in order to have their teeth fixed.
Is the Cost of Braces Cheaper for Bottom Teeth Only?
The bottom teeth for adults are those that sit in the lower mandible between the lower left third molar (number 17) to the lower right third molar (32). This includes the wisdom teeth which may have already been removed for the patient. In children the lower teeth are situated between letters K (lower left second primary molar) to T being the lower right second primary molar.
The average cost of having braces for both upper and lower teeth ranges between $4,500 and $10,000. Based on these averages, one would expect that braces on bottom teeth only would halve these figures, resulting in braces for lower teeth being in the vicinity of $2,250 to $5,000. Unfortunately, this is not the case and bottom braces often range between two thirds to three quarters of the actual cost of full braces. This means that braces for the lower teeth usually end up costing around $3,000 to $7,500, depending on the severity of the case, the orthodontist’s experience and also the location of the dental treatment.
Why are Braces for Bottom Teeth So Expensive?
Considering that working on bottom teeth essentially only appears to be half of the job, having to pay around 2/3 or ¾ of the price of full braces seems overly pricey to many people. However when considering teeth straightening, it’s not only the number of teeth which are being treated but also dentists need to consider the whole orthodontic treatment which is being performed.
Braces treatment is not only the cost of the brackets. Most of the treatment costs involve diagnostic fees and charges such as x-rays both for the initial consultation and throughout the treatment and professional time required of the orthodontist. Having braces solely on bottom of the teeth still requires a certain number of orthodontic adjustment visits, usually the same or slightly less than the number of visits needed if braces had been placed on upper and lower teeth.
Also not many situations warrant braces only on the lower jaw. This is because the orthodontist needs to take into account alignment and bite positions. Often it’s the case that where only the lower teeth are crowded or crooked and treatment is obtained only for those set of teeth following the treatment the patient may find their bite or alignment of the top teeth has shifted, requiring further braces treatment.
If both these considerations are not taken into account by the orthodontist and only lower teeth are treated then the patient may end up with bite problems or TMJ which will cause pain by placing undue stress on the jaw. You may also experience difficulty in chewing and overall dental health. Therefore in many situations orthodontists won’t advise that you have braces only on the bottom teeth and you will need to have treatment done on both top and lower teeth, requiring the full cost of braces to be paid.
How Can I Reduce the Cost of Braces for Bottom Teeth?
If your malocclusion is only mild or minor then you may be able to lower the cost by having Invisalign aligners from a dentist. In many situations where only lower teeth are required to be repositioned, Invisalign is a less expensive option because it can be performed by a dentist rather than a fully trained orthodontist. However, it would still be best to have your initial consultation and assessment done by a qualified orthodontist in order to determine whether it is wise to have braces or other teeth straightening treatment just on the lower teeth.
Should I Pay the Cost of Braces for Bottom Teeth?
Deciding whether to have braces treatment to correct your lower teeth is essentially a personal decision. Your considerations should involve financial aspects (how much will it cost? can you afford it?). Also, aesthetic aspects as to whether it’s worthwhile should be considered. If your bottom teeth are causing you difficulties such as pain or bite problems then getting proper treatment would be essential in this situation.
If you’re seeking treatment for cosmetic reasons solely then getting braces is less of a necessity especially for bottom teeth where they are often hidden when people smile. However, as we age the muscles in our face tend to relax and your bottom teeth may end up being exposed in the future. If you are uncomfortable about your crooked lower teeth then having the treatment may be a worthwhile concern. Keep in mind that in many cases patients are required to wear braces on both top and the bottom teeth, which will increase the cost. Only in limited circumstances will an orthodontist prescribe braces only for the bottom teeth. Either way, each case needs to be assessed by a professional on an individual bases and you should seek an appointment with an orthodontist for obtaining accurate prices.