When it comes to orthodontics – the treatment that involves straightening or moving teeth using special appliances – it’s important that an appliance be firmly anchored in the mouth to prevent movement. Often times, dentists can use a tooth or group of teeth to provide this anchorage. However, sometimes anchor teeth begin to move as well.
Temporary Anchorage Devices, or TADs, are small dental screws or implants that help solve this problem. As a temporary solution, they remain in place only for the duration of treatment and are then removed.
Although TADs have been popular in other countries for decades, the FDA only approved them for use in the U.S. about 10 years ago. Since then, dentists and orthodontists across the country have found them to be invaluable for certain treatments.
TADs are carefully placed into the jaw bone using very small tools. Unlike traditional (permanent) implants, they do not fuse with the bone. Instead, they keep their place by mechanically locking into the bone. Once in position, these mini-implants can be used to anchor an orthodontic appliance, or they can be used to stabilize other teeth that are serving as anchors – teeth that might move out of place without the support of TADs.
In other situations, TADs are used as an alternative to orthodontic headgear. Headgear can also provide stabile anchorage points, but such headgear is typically unsightly, highly uncomfortable and therefore undesirable for most patients.
In many cases, TADs are able to eliminate the need to wear certain equipment and shorten overall treatment time. Many orthodontists have found that TADs make very complex cases more manageable, and they can even make oral surgery unnecessary.
The best part about using TADs from a patient’s perspective is that insertion is a minimally invasive procedure – and in most cases, pain free. After your dentist numbs the area, a patient will only feel gentle pressure as the TAD is inserted. The entire process only takes a few minutes, and many patients report no pain whatsoever. (Removal of the screw is even easier.)
Your dentist will give you specific instructions regarding maintaining your TADs, but in reality there is not much to do. The primary concern is keeping the tissue around them clean and healthy, which is achieved by routine brushing and possibly through use of a special mouthwash.
If you would like to learn more about TADs and their specific applications, we’re happy to answer your questions. Feel free to ask your dentist at your next appointment at the Yuba City Dentistry Group.
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