Temporary Anchorage Device (TAD)

Temporary anchorage devices (TADs) are titanium bone anchors that look like a miniature version of a wood screw. This relatively new technology is used to decrease your time in treatment by doing tooth movement more precisely and efficiently. The screw’s length is about half the length of your thumbnail, and no wider than the width of the head of a pin. TADs are made of titanium and are painlessly placed in our office.

Dr. Charles Brodsky was one of the first orthodontists in the United States of America to place TADs on his patients and has placed over 1000 of them. Because of his vast experience, he has taught a live 6-hour hands-on course to over 100 local orthodontists on how to place TADs.

How are TADs Placed?

The area in which a TAD is placed is first numbed with a powerful, topical anesthetic gel. No needles are used. With the patient numb, our doctors place the small TAD directly through the gum tissue into the bone. Most patients feel a little pressure when the TAD is placed and some feel this during the day of placement. Tylenol or Ibuprofen is recommended for the day of placement. Patients report no pain or pressure the day after placement.

The TAD is removed when orthodontic treatment is completed or the TAD is no longer needed. It takes less than a minute to remove and is painless.

Why do we use TADs and why are they revolutionary?

A common example of orthodontic anchorage is a situation where an orthodontist wants to move in the front teeth that are sticking out (forward). The back molar teeth are used to help him/her because they are large, multirooted, and generally move very little when they are used to pull back the front teeth. The molar teeth are fairly well anchored in the jaw; however, the molar teeth will still move in response to the “equal and opposite force” principle.

Another example of anchorage is the use of a headgear and its strap around the neck to move upper molars backwards. By using TADS in conjunction with braces and wires, a spring force can be directed fully at the molars and affect a backwards movement on the molar efficiently and quickly. This eliminates the use of a headgear in most patients.

A simple way to think about TAD anchorage: A fisherman is sitting in a row boat and has caught a very large fish. If he has thrown an anchor overboard (TAD), and is strapped into the boat, he can (in time) reel the fish (tooth) in toward the boat without being pulled out to sea, or the boat moving from its original position.

What if the patient has no teeth for anchorage or Dr. Brodsky doesn’t want anchorage teeth to move at all?

Solution…Dr. Brodsky places one or more TADs and uses them to move the desired teeth. TADs now enable us to accomplish tooth movements, quickly, efficiently and to an extent not previously possible.