What Are TADs & How Do They Help?

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young boy outside with braces

Modern-day braces and clear aligners are absolute marvels of technology. They’re able to solve a wide array of orthodontic issues precisely and beautifully for patients of all ages, but they are not the only methods your orthodontist can use to give you or your child a perfectly straight smile. Another approach they can take involves the use of TADs. What is a TAD? How does it work? Will you or your child need one during your orthodontic treatment? To get the answers to these questions and more, keep reading!

What is a TAD?

TAD stands for Temporary Anchorage Device, and its primary goal is to move teeth in a way that cannot be accomplished with braces or clear aligners alone. If a patient has a single tooth that really sticks out of their smile, a TAD might be necessary to help it get in line. They are also often implemented if a few teeth need to be moved while keeping other teeth still in order to create room for an incoming tooth. For teeth that are impacted (stuck in the gums or jaw), a TAD can often provide the force needed to help them finally erupt.

TADs are typically used in conjunction with more well-known treatments like braces and Invisalign. They allow your dentist to uniquely adjust individual teeth while the rest are being straightened at the same time.

How Does a TAD Work?

Most TADs use a combination of elastics, dental attachments (or “buttons”), and small screws. After numbing a patient, the tiny screw is placed into the jawbone near the tooth that needs to be moved. A dental attachment is then cemented onto the tooth. An elastic is stretched tightly between them, and based on the positioning of the button and screw, the elastic exerts the force needed to move the tooth in the desired direction. Once the tooth is in the correct position, each element is removed with a quick and comfortable procedure.

Who Needs a TAD?

It’s hard to look at a set of crooked teeth and immediately know whether or not a TAD will be necessary…that is, unless you’re an orthodontist! When you come in for an initial consultation, your orthodontist will give you or your child a detailed exam and take some X-rays. After that, they’ll discuss your treatment options, and this will include mentioning whether or not a TAD is needed. Depending on the case, a TAD can be placed at the beginning of treatment, or it may need to wait until the teeth have moved a bit first.

While TADs literally have “temporary” in their name, the results they can deliver are permanent. They give your orthodontist more flexibility when it comes to perfecting someone’s smile, so if yours recommends one, you can trust that it will make your final result look and feel its absolute best.

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is an award-winning, board-certified orthodontist who has been taking care of smiles of all ages in the Columbus area for over a decade. He and his colleagues at Shirck Orthodontics offer a wide range of treatments, including braces, Invisalign, TADs, and much more. If you’d like to know more about you or your child’s orthodontic options, you can schedule a FREE in-person consultation by clicking here.