Happy holidays to all our friends and patients! Hopefully the holiday season finds you all happy, healthy, and enjoying a little family time together. Speaking of family, earlier in November, our family here at L&M attended a continuing education course in Las Vegas focusing on temporary anchorage devices.
Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs) are extremely useful for particular orthodontic and dental treatments. In orthodontics we move teeth with basic mechanics. When you push on something (a tooth), you have to pull on something else. You “anchor” yourself against a stronger object. Most of the time, anchorage is achieved by placing the force between a small tooth that you are trying to move and another large tooth (or several teeth tied together), the “anchor”. The small tooth moves a whole lot more than the anchor. However, since both sides are mobile, we always have some movement of the anchor teeth as well, and sometimes this is detrimental to our treatment goals. TADs solve this problem for the orthodontist. These are basically very small screws inserted into the surrounding bone. Unlike a tooth, the TAD does have the biological mechanism to move through bone, and is therefore a truly rigid anchor. The tooth can be moved against this fixed point.
Wait, a screw? In bone? Ouch! Doesn’t that hurt? A simple procedure inserts TADs right into the bone. The doctor numbs the area with an anesthetic gel before the procedure. When the TAD is inserted, the patient may feel some pressure, but rarely discomfort. Once treatment is finished, the device can be taken out quickly and painlessly.
The devices are employed to fix a number of conditions. For example, orthodontists find the screws useful to move teeth for filling in a gap caused by an absent tooth, correcting an anterior open bite, to draw back your front teeth, or straightening tipped molars. TADs also work with braces to prevent the need for headgear and reduce dependence on the patients compliance with treatment. These devices often avoid the necessity of permanent dental implants and/or jaw surgery, and can therefore save you invasive procedures and additional expense.
TADs are truly an innovation in current orthodontic treatment. Dr. Lee and I are very excited about them, because they allow us to correct some problems that we were unable to in the past. Ask us if TADs may be right for you. For more information, check out our website and YouTube channel!