Temporary anchorage devices, or TADs, are small titanium anchors used in orthodontics as an addition to other treatments. These devices are used in certain orthodontic cases to help achieve quicker tooth movement with more efficiency and comfort. In use since the 1980s, TADs have grown in popularity in recent years because of their ability to enhance orthodontic treatments. TADs may be used in addition to braces or as an alternative to headgear.

What Are TADs?

Usually made from titanium alloys, TADs are small, screw-like metal elements that act as stationary anchors, remaining in place for several months of treatment before being removed. They consist of an implant head and an implant body. The implant head contains eyelets and a prominent top for easy attachment, while the body has screw-like threads topped with a tissue-suppression portion to prevent the gums from growing over the implant.

TADs are used in combination with braces and other orthodontic treatments, which are attached to these TADs using elastic bands. By adding this anchor point, orthodontists can more easily control the movement of the teeth within the jaw. Previously, cumbersome headgear was used for this purpose, which is both uncomfortable and aesthetically unpleasant for the patient. With TADs attached directly to the jaw, patients avoid discomfort while still benefitting from the same orthodontic controls.

The use of TADs offers several benefits to orthodontics. The additional control offered by these implants help to shorten overall treatment time and minimize the use and wear of elastics. Using TADs can even help orthodontists tackle more difficult cases and reduce the likelihood of a patient requiring additional invasive treatments or surgeries. This small device truly is versatile.

How Are TADs Placed?

TADs are placed into the bone of the jaw using a minimally invasive and pain-free procedure. First, a strong anesthetic is used to numb the gum tissue and the jaw surrounding the area where the TAD will be placed. Once the area is numb enough to work with, your doctor will gently place the TAD through the gum tissue and firmly into the jawbone. While your doctor is placing the TAD, you may feel slight pressure, but no pain. You may feel some more discomfort as the anesthetic wears off, but within a few days you will no longer be able to feel the TAD. The placing of a TAD is quick and may be over before you know it.

How Can You Relieve Discomfort Caused by Your TAD?

Once the installation procedure is finished, some patients experience some discomfort immediately after the procedure. Over-the-counter pain relievers are usually enough to help with any pain If you do feel any discomfort from having your TADs placed, Tylenol® is recommended to help relieve your pain. If you continue to experience discomfort days after your treatment, please contact your dentist as soon as possible.

You may also experience some discomfort after the TAD removal process. Though this process is easier than the installation process and requires minimal anesthesia, you may still feel some soreness. Again, take over-the-counter painkillers and notify your orthodontist or dentist if the pain persists.

How Do You Maintain Your TAD?

After installation, TADs require very little maintenance from the patient. A TAD can be cleaned the same way you clean your braces by brushing your teeth two to three times a day with a clean, soft toothbrush and antimicrobial toothpaste. When your TAD is placed, we will also provide you with an antimicrobial mouthwash that you will need to use twice a day.

How Long Are TADs Used?

The length of time a patient needs to use a TAD varies based on the needs of their treatment. This treatment length will be determined by your orthodontist before and during TAD installation. Once your orthodontist has determined the TAD is no longer required because your treatment is complete or it is no longer needed to help straighten your teeth, they will remove it in the office. Removal of a TAD is a comfortable procedure that takes just a few minutes.

Get Orthodontic TADs

If you have questions about TADs or are looking for an orthodontics provider offering them, Uniquely You Orthodontics can help. We will be able to answer any of your questions and provide you with detailed information about your orthodontic treatment. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or speak with one of our friendly staff members.