When most people think about orthodontics, they envision braces or retainers. Sometimes, your orthodontist may recommend a temporary anchorage device (TAD). Made of titanium alloy, the TAD is a miniature screw that serves as an anchor to move teeth in a very controlled manner. Because the TAD does not move, the tooth or teeth can move against a fixed point to create the desired results.
Your orthodontist can place the TAD in the office, with minimal discomfort. After numbing the area with a fast-acting gel and applying local anesthetic, the doctor will insert the appliance through the gums into the bone between your teeth. Most people experience a feeling of some pressure, but no actual pain. Usually, patients respond well to the procedure, with no need for even over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Because the device is temporary, your doctor will monitor the progress and remove the screw once the teeth have shifted as desired. Usually, patients only wear TADs for a few months. If the TAD irritates your cheeks or lips, use a q-tip to apply orthodontic wax and cover the device. Call your doctor if the discomfort persists.
For the first week, rinse the TAD with chlorhexidine two to three times daily. You will also need to use a soft toothbrush dipped in chlorhexidine to brush around the post during the initial seven days after placement. After this point, treat the TAD like a tooth by brushing at normal times. With a TAD, you may feel some loosening, which is normal. If it feels excessively loose or becomes uncomfortable, contact your orthodontist.