Questions and Answers
What are Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs)?
Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs) are titanium-alloy mini-screws, ranging from 6 to 12 milimeters in length and 1.2 to 2 milimeters in diameter.
They are fixed to bone temporarily to enhance orthodontic anchorage. Titanium alloys have been used as joint replacements and for dental implants for many years. These alloys are not rejected by the body.
Orthodontist often use holding arches, also known as space maintainers, and headgear to control anchorage and minimize the movement of certain teeth while carrying out the desired movement of other teeth. TADs allow orthodontists to overcome limitations of holding arches and headgear and perform difficult tooth movements predictably.
TADs can also provide a point of anchorage for patients with missing teeth.
Where are TADs placed?
TADs are placed in the bone between the roots of the teeth and can be placed in the bone in the roof of the mouth as well.
How is a TAD placed and does it hurt?
Placement is minimally invasive and often completed using only topical anesthetic. TADs are inserted directly into the bone using a special instrument. There is little or no discomfort because there are no nerve endings in the bone tissue. Once placed, the orthodontist is able to use the TAD as orthodontic anchorage immediately.
Because of the possibility that TADs can loosen or fall out, patients should avoid picking or pulling at the TAD. If the TAD does become loose or come out, call your orthodontist as soon as possible.
Who places the TAD?
Because orthodontists have the training and expertise to place them, many orthodontists place TAD themselves. This ensures the TAD is placed exactly where the orthodontist wants it. Some orthodontists may choose to have a TAD placed by another dental specialist.
How long are TADs left in?
Your orthodontist will advise you about how long a TAD will be needed. It may be required only for a few months, or it may be needed throughout your orthodontic treatment. TADs are versatile and may be used in different areas of the mouth during different parts of treatment.
Can TADs be used for patients at any age?
TADs are placed on patients who have permanent teeth. Patients with active periodontal (gum) disease may not be candidates for TADs.
Overcoming Anchorage Limitations
Temporary anchorage devices (TADs) for orthodontic anchorage are widely accepted. They are changing the way orthodontists treat some patients’ malocclusions. TADs provide a fixed point from which to apply force to move teeth. They can be placed in many different sites in the mouth. Placement is customized for each patient. TADs may contribute to predictable results, shorter treatment time and completion of active treatment on schedule.
There is little or no discomfort when a TADs is placed. Caring for your TAD generally requires only routine brushing.
Although small, the TAD does a big job of helping your orthodontist move your teeth predictably into their optimal positions.
American Association of Orthodontist brochure
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