Hopefully the title of this post doesn’t sound too scary! Mini Screws are also named Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs), which describes their function a little bit more. Mini Screws are actually one of the wonderful advancements in the field of orthodontics that allows for some types of treatment to be done more simply and effectively. In fact, there are some uses for Mini Screws that replace the need for headgear!
What are Mini Screws?
They are very small biocompatible titanium screws that are inserted into the bone at strategic locations to serve a multitude of functions. They’re made at a variety of lengths (to suit the location in the mouth). If this sounds painful, you’ll be surprised to find out that their placement and presence in the mouth is very easily tolerated! Actually, there are no nerves inside bone: only in the gums and on the surface fascia layer (called periosteum) on top of bone. Dr. Abdoney and Dr. Cronauer use a powerful topical anesthetic (that’s right- a gel!) that penetrates down to the periosteum layer, making the use of needles rare. If an injection is needed for complete anesthesia, it’s quite comfortable having already been partially numbed by the topical anesthetic.
Why are they necessary?
For most people, using them isn’t necessary. However, there are situations that do require them. Their other name “TAD” highlights their primary function: to act as an anchor. Whenever your orthodontist is moving a tooth with braces (or aligners) alone, the adjacent teeth move in the opposite direction. When Dr. Abdoney needs to have teeth move in one direction only, typically when closing a space or moving teeth towards the gum, a Temporary Anchorage Device is used. When the desired tooth movement (or lack thereof) has been accomplished, the Mini Screw is removed as easily as it was placed!