TAD or TAD’s, also called mini-screws, mini-implants or micro-implants, are orthodontic devices used to move teeth in the desired direction without moving back or adjacent teeth. This acronym stands for Temporary Anchorage Device, an orthodontic device that is gaining more and more ground among dentists; in Europe and Asia TAD’s are been used since the 90s, while in the U.S. this practice was approved in 2005.
The application of TAD’s to orthodontic treatments is now widely accepted, as this skeletal anchorage is utilised by much of the orthodontists as a safe and simple method to improve treatment mechanics.
The use of TAD’s is employed in different orthodontic treatments, for the closure of space, to correct overbite or irregularities of the bite or in case of misaligned teeth.
Before the introduction of TAD’s, to change the position of teeth usually a force was applied on back teeth; because of the back teeth may move forward as a consequence, orthodontists were used to apply an orthodontic headgear to anchor the back teeth; this headgear is a type of extra-oral orthodontic appliance attached to the patients head that transfers the force to the teeth via a facebow or hooks.
Now it is possible to create an anchor for the teeth using a temporary anchorage device: a TAD looks like a small screw, between 6 to 10 mm long, and made up of a biocompatible material, a titanium alloy; this screw is insert directly in the gums and in the bone with an easy and painless process and it become immovable.
The placement process begin with a small dose of anesthetic into the area of soft tissue where the TAD will be placed and when the gums are numb, the procedure is completely painless, then there is the insertion of the TAD; the complete procedure requires only few minutes. Once the TAD is no longer required, it is easily removed usually without the need for anesthetic.
When TAD’s are placed in the gum, oral hygiene became even more important to keep the tissues around them clean and healthy, thus sometimes it can be prescribed a specific mouthwash.
The cost of TAD’s is not very cheap, even if prices may vary according to many factors; on average the price is around 500 dollars per TAD.