A temporary anchorage device (commonly abbreviated as “TAD”) is an appliance that can be used to move certain teeth holding or anchoring other teeth in place. TADs used to be constructed in the form of face masks that attached to dental headgear, which for a long time were the stereotypical “embarrassing” orthodontic treatment in movies and TV.
Today, temporary anchorage devices are much subtler and more advanced. They can offer patients with braces a unique corrective solution that can help them avoid long-term problems that would otherwise require surgery (and they don’t require headgear). Continue reading to learn what are temporary anchorage devices, including what they do and why you or your child might need one.
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What are Temporary Anchorage Devices?
TADs are made from a titanium alloy. They consist of dental implants that screw into place to “anchor” certain teeth while others are moved by braces and other appliances.
This works because in addition, to eliminating the need for uncomfortable headgear, TADs can anchor certain teeth without using the teeth themselves as the anchor. The older versions of these devices that did that often risked several complications.
Beyond the possibility that the tooth might not be in the exact right place for an ideal anchor, the anchor tooth itself could move because of the force being applied to it. Now, with modern TADs, orthodontists can establish anchor points in ideal positions and not risk other teeth.
What Does a TAD Feel Like?
When orthodontists put in your TAD, you will feel a gentle amount of pressure. Your gums will need to be numbed when they screw the appliance into the bone. Afterwards, patients may feel a sensation of pressure or tightness. But a TAD should never be painful.
For a few days after your appliance is put in, you may want to use a mild OTC painkiller to mask your discomfort. If the appliance produces any kind of numbing or shooting pain, contact your orthodontist.
What are the Benefits of a TAD?
TADs provide many benefits to eligible patients by allowing their doctor to strategically manipulate tooth movement during various treatments. The specific benefits provided by these appliances include:
- Removing the need for uncomfortable headgear
- Restricting tooth movement before a crown or dental implant
- Closing an open bite (or opening a deep bite) without corrective jaw surgery
- Eliminating the need to use rubber bands in conjunction with braces
- Modifying the patient’s bone structure during growth phases
- Correcting Class II and Class III malocclusions
- Uprighting tipped molars without braces
- Correcting a one-tooth crossbite
- Simplifying orthognathic surgery
- Reducing total treatment time
TADs can aid your orthodontist in treating many conditions, as well as simplifying procedures for conditions that have alternate treatments. Many of the conditions listed above, like cross bites and uprighted molars, can require surgery or extended treatment time with braces if they are not addressed, which is why TADs can save patient’s pain, time, and money in the long term.
How Long Will I Have to Wear a TAD?
TADs are typically worn for a few months. During this time, teeth can be moved around the anchor for as long as your orthodontist thinks you need it. TADs are not usually worn as long as braces or other appliances, but you should speak with your provider to learn how long they expect you to need a temporary anchorage device for your specific treatment.
How to Maintain your TAD
Temporary anchorage devices do not require a ton of maintenance. However, it’s important to brush them twice a day using a soft, non-mechanical toothbrush. This is to ensure that plaque doesn’t build up around the TAD.
You should never try to move the device. However, if it feels slightly uncomfortable, your orthodontist can give you dental wax to soften the areas where it touches your lips or gums. A TAD should never be painful.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.