Braces or Invisalign for Patient with Small Jaw?

Dentists have told me that my jaw is too small to fit all my teeth. I have a lot of crowding and a few twisted teeth on my bottom row. Would I just be better off to get metal braces? Most of the pictures I've seen are not as severe as my case. I'm just worried that I will be encouraged to stick with Invisalign because it is more expensive.

Doctor Answers 8

Based on your picture, it looks like you are a good candidate for Invisalign

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Based on your picture, it looks like you are a good candidate for Invisalign, but a lot more information is needed including x-rays and more photos from different angles are necessary to diagnose.

A consultation and evaluation with your dentist is the best way to know for sure if you are a good candidate for Invisalign.

Invisalign does work well for small jaw, crowding and teeth that are twisted or rotated.

As you suspect, yours is a complex case

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From you description and picture your case is a bit more complex than the average Invisalign case. I am not saying it can not be done with Invisalign, but it looks like you will need some orthopedic expansion before aligners can work. I would highly recommend that you see an orthodontic specialist who is well versed in both conventional and Invisalign treatment to see if you are a candidate. Metal braces are sometimes the best way to go. If you take care of your teeth during treatment theree should be no concerns about enamel damage. Good luck.

Doug Depew, DMD
Atlanta Orthodontist

Invisalign or Metal Braces for small jaw

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If I had a choice, and I think that both of these options would work for you, I would choose invisalign. Invisalign is cosmetically more desirable. It is easier to maintain healthy gums since brushing and flossing are so much easier since your aligners are removable rather than struggle with metal braces. Metal braces, worn over a long period of time, can cause enamel damage as well. In your specific case, you mentioned you have a small jaw, which will make it even harder to have a healthy mouth with metal braces. Invisalign allows you to do arch espansion, creating more space for your teeth. I know that money is always a factor but the price is almost the same. I would find an general dentist who has a great deal of invisalign experience to work with your case. Hope this helps! Good luck!

Robert Fields, DDS
Van Nuys Dentist

Braces are better--please see an orthodontist

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From the picture that you sent, it seems that you have dental problems in all three areas of space.

  1. vertical - the heights of your teeth are misaligned and it seems that you have an open bite on the left posterior side
  2. sagital - it seems from the photo (and once again hard to tell) that you have a Class III tendency, i.e. your lower jaw is more forward than your upper jaw.
  3. transverse- a narrow upper arch and thus, it seems that you have a crossbite on the right side, and maybe left side, although it is hard to tell from this one photo.

I would recommend seeing a board certified orthodontist to do a full work up on your case. From the one photo, (which isn't that great) braces, either metal or ceramic, are the most efficient way to get you the best result.

In addition, it is possible, and I can not see the extent of the posterior crossbite from this photo, that braces and dental movement of the teeth alone may not be enough to correct the crossbite and that a surgically assisted rapid palatal expansion may be needed to fully correct the posterior crossbite. A full diagnostic work up will aid in making this determination.

Gabriela Hricko, DDS
New York Orthodontist

Braces or Invisalign for small jaws

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From the looks of your photo, you may find success with either braces or Invisalign. However, if you are okay with the idea of braces, I believe this will be the best way for you to go as your orthodontist can use a palatal expander to "widen" your jaw, correct the cross bite, and create room for your teeth to fall in line aesthetically. Good luck!

Invisalign will work for you

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Metal braces can be problematic over long periods of time due to enamel damage etc. Invisalign is more user friendly and can now be a more comfortable way to straighten teeth. Arch expansion will be needed for your case which will then allow more space to be created. I only wish I had done Invisalign 20 years ago for my own teeth but it hadnt been invented yet. My porcelain brackets tore up my lips something fierce.

Michael J. Thomas, DDS
Los Angeles Dentist

Both braces or Invisalign can work

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The first thing is to find out what your main goal is. If it is just simple esthetics then both options can align the front teeth to achieve a better esthetic outcome. However, if you want to correct the crossbite, then you may be better served with braces.

If you are not motivated to wear the Invisalign aligners, then no treatment will get completed. With braces you have them bonded onto the teeth and they will work as long as nothing breaks.

Kunal Walia, DDS
Puyallup Dentist

Arch expansion may be considered

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With the exception of third molars (wisdom teeth), most people are just fine keeping all of their teeth. If the jaws are small, expansion should be considered. After room is created the teeth can line up very well.

This is likely beyond the scope of Invisalign.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.