Some patients who long for straighter smiles may face some obstacles to traditional orthodontic treatment. For example, if a tooth that needs to be moved is adjacent to a large gap, there may be no surface to which the next bracket can be attached so that forces can be properly applied to the targeted tooth.
A Temporary Anchorage Device (TAD) can help patients overcome such treatment challenges. TADs are tiny surgical screws that an oral surgeon places in designated locations in the jaw. The TAD is made of titanium, so the bone can fuse with it and it will stay in place for the duration of treatment. If an extra anchor is needed for the orthodontic appliances in your case, a TAD may be beneficial. TADs also can be helpful when it’s necessary to correct the bite in addition to the alignment of the teeth.
The orthodontist and oral surgeon will work closely to implement the treatment plan in cases in which TADs are required. Your orthodontist and surgeon will collaborate to determine the timing of the procedure.
The oral surgery is an outpatient procedure that can usually be performed in the oral surgeon’s office. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions to prepare for the surgery, as well as post-operative directions to reduce your risk of complications, like infections.
After the orthodontic treatment is complete, the patient will undergo a second oral surgery to have the TAD removed. This can often be done using just a local anesthetic.
Not only does a TAD help patients achieve the desired treatment outcomes, it can also speed up the timeline for re-aligning the smile. Furthermore, in cases in which the goal is to correct the bite, a TAD can eliminate the need for clunky headgear or even extensive jaw surgery that might otherwise be necessary for that purpose.
If certain limitations would prevent you from realigning your smile with conventional orthodontic appliances, ask your orthodontist if a TAD might help you get the smile of your dreams.