Most orthodontic problems are easy to treat with metal braces. But in a small number of cases, additional help from devices like TADs is necessary to enhance the efficiency of metal braces or replace them altogether. TADs can also eliminate the need for headgear and surgery in eligible patients.

What Are TADs (Temporary Anchorage Devices)?

Temporary Anchorage Devices, or TADs for short, are oral appliances used to treat complex orthodontic problems. TADs are mini-screws made of titanium alloy that are temporarily screwed into the gums and jawbone to provide anchorage. TADs can help correct a range of dental problems that braces alone can’t fix, such as:

  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Open bites
  • Large gaps
  • Ectopic eruption

Before orthodontists embraced TADs, patients either had to wear headgear or undergo invasive surgery to correct the above dental problems. TADs have nearly eliminated the need for these painful or unsightly approaches.

How Are TADs placed?

Before implanting a TAD, your orthodontist will disinfect the treatment area and then apply a small amount of topical or local anesthetic — usually a third of what is used for dental fillings. You won’t feel any pain as a result, only mild pressure as the device is implanted.

Once the area is numb, the TAD is inserted into the gum and bone using a driver. The exact location of TAD placement depends on the problem being treated, but most TADs are placed in the jawbone and between the roots of the teeth. It takes only a couple of seconds for orthodontists to place a TAD, with additional time needed for the anesthetic to start working. All in all, you can expect the procedure to be complete in less than five minutes.

How Do TADs Work?

TADs are anchoring points placed inside the mouth to help move teeth in the right position. Braces can normally do this by exerting continuous pressure with the help of archwires that are adjusted every couple of weeks. Normally, rear molars serve as anchor points for braces. Sometimes, however, a different anchor point is needed to get the best results, and that’s where TADs can help.

TADs are attached to braces with elastics or coil springs that push and pull teeth in the desired direction. The force exerted by these dental devices causes ligaments that attach teeth to the bone to move. Any gaps are then filled with new bone as teeth adjust to their new position.

Do TADs Hurt?

TADs do not hurt when placed correctly and cared for properly. Some patients report feeling pressure or a mild ache around the device in the first couple of days. Any discomfort is simple to manage with over-the-counter pain medication.

You will need to clean your TAD two times daily to prevent painful infections that may increase your risk of gum disease and failure of the TAD.

TAD application should also be painless since there are no nerve endings in the bone tissue where the device is normally implanted.

How Do I Take Care of My TAD?

Maintain good oral health by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and using a fluoride-based mouth rinse. It’s advised to clean around the TAD using a soft toothbrush two to three times a day to prevent infections. If you notice that the area around your TAD has become red and tender, contact your orthodontist immediately. If your device has become loose, it’s also a good idea to have it checked by your provider.

How Long Do TADs Remain in Place?

Most patients need to wear their TADs only for a couple of months, unlike braces which are worn for one to three years. However, how long you will need to have your TAD depends on the complexity and severity of your orthodontic problem. Some patients wear TADs for the entire duration of their orthodontic treatment, while others need to keep them for four to six months.

If you have any other questions concerning TADs, feel free to contact our practice today. We will be more than happy to address all your questions and concerns and provide all necessary information regarding your treatment.

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