How Much Is Single Arch Orthodontic Treatment?

How Much Is Single Arch Orthodontic Treatment
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Orthodontic treatment such as braces or clear aligners has changed the lives of millions of people, giving them straight teeth and improving their overall dental health.

Many of us have had braces on both the top and bottom arches, but did you know that single-arch orthodontic treatments are also available in certain cases? They are sometimes available for younger people, those with very mild teeth alignment issues on one set of teeth, or patients who have had previous work carried out that requires some small adjustments.

This article will provide all the information on what kind of single arch options there are, how much they cost, and if this is a cost-effective and recommended option for treatment.

Can I Get Single Arch Braces?

If you’re thinking about getting braces, you might wonder if it’s possible to only treat either the top or bottom teeth. This idea often comes up for reasons like saving money or hoping for easier cleaning during the treatment. Essentially, the goal for some is to enhance a specific part of their smile, focusing on just the top or bottom set of teeth.

However, it’s important to note that most orthodontic specialists typically recommend against single-arch treatments. The main concern with treating just one arch is how it might affect your bite. When only one set of teeth is adjusted, it can lead to a mismatch in how the upper and lower teeth meet and function together. This imbalance could potentially worsen any existing issues and make eating difficult.

Despite these concerns, the desire for single-arch braces often stems from a wish to improve the appearance of one’s smile. Orthodontists usually view this type of treatment as more cosmetic and not the best approach for addressing more complex dental issues. So, while the idea of treating just one arch might seem appealing for its simplicity and cost-effectiveness, the overall advice from dental professionals leans towards a comprehensive treatment that includes both arches for the best outcome.

Types of Braces

Metal Braces

Metal braces, one of the most popular orthodontic treatments for straightening and moving teeth, are made of metal brackets that are held in place with an archwire that is slowly tightened over time. Once installed, periodic visits to the orthodontist are necessary to adjust the braces. During this process, specialized bands may also be used as anchors for other pieces such as elastics or rubber bands that help move your teeth into place more rapidly. Depending on the individual, the amount of time it takes for treatment can range from six months to two years or more.

Where there is very minor tooth movement required (such as a small gap between the top front teeth) it may be appropriate to only have a single-arch treatment with metal braces. Also, sometimes younger patients can be prescribed treatment that includes two phases with the first phase being a single arch brace that prepares the teeth for the second phase when both arches will be treated at the same time.

Single arch treatment with braces may cost around $1,500 to $4,000 depending on the severity of the issue that needs treating versus $2,500 to $7,000 for a full set.

See our article: Are Regular Braces Cheaper Than Invisalign?

Clear Braces

The brackets used in clear braces are made of either ceramic or plastic, and the archwires are made from titanium or stainless steel. This material combination allows for a transparent look that blends into the natural color of teeth, making them much less noticeable than traditional metal braces.

The number of visits needed to fit the appliances can vary depending on the complexity of each case. However, typically it takes between two to four visits over a two-to-three-month period to get it done. These appointments allow time for adjustments as well as monitoring changes in malocclusion caused by tooth movement during treatment.

As with metal braces single-arch treatment with clear braces is not normally advised by an orthodontist and the overall cost savings of doing so are minimal versus the results of what having a full set of braces will give.

Clear braces are a more expensive option than metal braces mainly due to the enhanced materials used and one can expect to pay between $2,500 to $6,000 for a single-arch treatment with a full set ranging from $4,000 to $8,000 depending on the amount of work that needs to be completed and the length of time that takes.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces, also known as hidden braces, are a type of orthodontic dental appliance that gets connected to the back side of the teeth to realign them and create the desired effect. These braces tend to be much less visible than standard braces, making them great for those who don’t want people to know they’re wearing them.

Fitting lingual braces involves preparing the teeth so that brackets can be attached and then customizing and fitting the attachments onto each tooth. Once they’re in place, regular visits will be necessary to monitor their progress and assess any potential problems that may arise. Generally speaking, metal wires are used which need to be tightened periodically, typically every 6-8 weeks, which helps stimulate tooth movement.

Depending on the severity of each specific patient’s case, treatment with lingual braces can take anywhere from 12 months to 24 months; however, this can vary depending on age and lifestyle.

It is not advised to get single-arch treatment with lingual braces as this may cause additional issues. However, in special phased treatment plans, where one arch is straightened before the other, it may be something that is advised.

When offering single arch treatment many people believe that they will save 50% on treatment costs but this is not the case. The cost of having lingual braces differs based on a specific case but ranges from $8,000 to $10,000 for a full set.

Clear Aligners as an Alternative to Braces

Clear aligners can be an effective alternative to braces for patients seeking to correct just one arch in their orthodontic treatment.

Traditional braces require the adjustment of multiple teeth at once, making them less ideal for patients who need to focus on only one area. In comparison, aligners provide more detailed control in certain areas, making them a great option for correcting just one arch.

With clear aligners treatment times typically range from 6 months to 18 months depending on the case, considerably shorter than with braces. Also, with patients who have such a mild condition that they can treat one arch only, clear aligners are the best solution as there is no need for time-consuming dental appointments as everything can be arranged from the comfort of your own home, whilst even a single arch brace will require multiple in-person appointments.

See our reviews of The Best Clear Aligners.

It is also useful to know that a treatment plan that involves a full set of clear aligners is likely cheaper than one single arch brace and as effective for treating mild to mid malocclusions so there is a large cost saving too.

See our article: Can I Get Invisible Braces on the Bottom or Top Teeth Only?

Worth Knowing

According to research published in Angle Orthodontist, conventional braces typically require more visits and longer treatment time, averaging 5.5 months longer than clear aligner therapy.

Here are some reviews of the best at-home aligners you can opt for:

AlignerCo is a well-known brand that provides an affordable aligner program. Their prices are lower than most other aligner brands, with treatment starting at just $945, which also includes free retainers and a teeth whitening kit. 



The cheapest at-home aligners, with monthly plans, no down payment, and considerable discounts.

Check out AlignerCo Aligners

Byte is a well-known brand that offers a lifetime guarantee for your aligners. This means that if your teeth don’t stay in the desired treatment position afterward, you’ll receive additional impression kits, treatment plans, and sets of aligners at no additional cost to correct any misalignments.



An affordable option with refundable impression kits, free HyperByte, and a Byte for Life guarantee.

Check out Byte Aligners

Candid is a highly regarded aligner product with a treatment approach similar to Invisalign. Unlike the other brands mentioned, Candid doesn’t offer a direct-to-home ordering service. Instead, a qualified orthodontist will assess your eligibility for treatment. The advantage is that you won’t need regular appointments after starting treatment. Candid aligners are suitable for addressing both mild and severe spacing issues.



A hybrid of in-office and at-home treatment that provides 1-on-1 orthodontist support.

Check out Candid Aligners


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Tamer, I. et al. Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners and The Scientific Reality Behind Their Marketing: A Literature Review. Turkish Journal of Orthodontics. 2019. doi: 10.5152/TurkJOrthod.2019.18083. Available online at:

Thirumoorthy, S.N., et al. Is remote monitoring a reliable method to assess compliance in clear aligner orthodontic treatment?. British Dental Association. (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41432-021-0231-x. Available online at:

Anderson, L. E., Arruda, A., Inglehart, M. R., Adolescent Patients’ Treatment Motivation and Satisfaction with Orthodontic Treatment: Do Possible Selves Matter?, The Angle Orthodontist (2009) 79 (5): 821–827. DOI: 10.2319/120708-613.1. Available online at:

Iza Wojnarowski

Content contributor

Iza is a dedicated content contributor for Toothific. Having worn braces twice and currently using Invisalign to correct a mild overbite, Iza brings a unique perspective to her writing. She spends her time staying updated on the latest dental trends and treatments, ensuring her readers have the most current information for their dental care needs.

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