A temporary anchorage device or TAD is a small metal screw made of bioinert metals such as titanium which acts as an anchorage device to help with the movement of teeth in orthodontics.
Temporary anchorage devices are often used in conjunction with braces (TAD braces), and TAD orthodontics (TAD ortho) can aid in fixing extreme overbites, closing up spaces left by extracted or missing teeth, or to minimise the treatment time for braces.
What Is TAD orthodontics?
Orthodontics work based on the theory of Newton’s Third Law of Motion which states that for every force or action, there is an equal an opposite reaction.
Thus, in order to cause a tooth to move in a desired direction, TAD orthodontics involves inserting a miniscrew into the alveolar bone (the ridge of bone which holds your tooth sockets) temporarily and supports the teeth (Singh, Kumar, Jaiswal, & Bansal, 2010).
Subsequently, the TAD can be removed from the bone when it is no longer needed. The miniscrews are made of bioinert materials so as to prevent inflammatory reactions from the tissue where the screw is inserted into the bone. These screws do not require pilot holes as they can drill themselves as they are inserted (Harrell, 2017).
TAD ortho has been a revelation in orthodontics, in that your teeth can now move in ways that they couldn’t before to give you the prettiest smile. For example, to correct your forward-leaning teeth, TAD orthodontics allows your front teeth to be pushed inwards far more than with normal braces alone.
Moreover, TADs can align teeth without the need for extraction in cases where tooth extraction would be necessary before. In typical braces cases to align front teeth, one or more molars would have to be extracted to create space for the front teeth to align, as front teeth are usually crooked because of a lack of space in the mouth to grow straight.
The miniscrews implanted in TAD braces are sufficiently strong to pull the molars back such that it creates space for the front teeth without extracting any molars.
Do TAD braces hurt?
The procedure to insert the mini implant typically does not hurt that much and only takes a few minutes. This is because a numbing agent is used to numb the gums before the insertion, so that the patient does not feel the implant being placed at all.
However, you might feel some tenderness in the gums and teeth for about a week after the procedure as a result of the installing and fixing of your TAD braces. To care for your TADs, be very cautious when brushing around the screw(s), being sure not to brush too hard. It is also good to rinse around the site of the screw with mouthwash for the first few days after insertion to prevent infection.
If you feel the screw loosening, inform your dentist or orthodontist immediately. You should also use orthodontic wax to mitigate any discomfort caused by friction after installing braces and TADs.
The screws can be removed a few months later, once the desired movements by TAD ortho are completed. The process of removing the implants does not require anaesthesia, and the healing process is usually fuss-free and quick.
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