For some orthodontic patients, a Temporary Anchorage Device (TAD) may be needed to achieve the desired treatment outcomes.

The TAD is a titanium device that looks similar to an earring stud. It is a miniature surgical screw that fuses with the bone and must be physically removed at a later date after treatment goals are fulfilled.

Successful orthodontic treatment requires that forces be applied to the teeth in a certain way to achieve the desired movement.

An orthodontist can use a TAD as part of treatment when a patient needs some additional solid anchor in order to re-position a tooth. While many patients can have their teeth repositioned through orthodontic appliances placed on the teeth alone, adjustments to the bite may require a fixed anchor at a different point or vector. A TAD is useful in such situations, especially when the orthodontist wants to move one tooth while keeping the others still.

Also, if the tooth that must be moved is next to a large gap or an empty space in the smile, the TAD can provide a stable structure to allow the targeted tooth to move without disrupting those teeth that must remain in their positions.

TADs can be used in any area of the mouth, and they may actually speed up the treatment timeline.

When a TAD is indicated, the patient’s orthodontist can collaborate with an oral surgeon, as the TAD is placed in an outpatient surgical procedure.

TAD placement is a simple surgery, though. It is completed in the oral surgeon’s office, with the patient receiving local anesthesia. In fact, a TAD can prevent the need for more involved and invasive oral surgery or eliminate the use of clunky headgear to correct a problem with the bite. The removal of the TAD is also a simple procedure and is often accomplished with only topical anesthesia.

Because TAD placement involves a surgical procedure, certain precautions are needed, as with any oral surgery. Be sure the mouth is clean before and after surgery, to reduce your chance of developing an infection, which can cause the TAD to fall out prematurely and create a setback in your orthodontic treatment.

In general, you should follow the oral surgeon’s pre- and post-operative instructions closely to minimize the risk of complications. Most patients can return to their normal routines the same day as the procedure.

Our oral surgeons have extensive experience with TAD placement, so if your orthodontist has recommended one of these devices, contact our office for a consultation.