A recent development in Orthodontics is the use of, “mini implants”. They were introduced in the beginning of the 21st century. They are also called, “Temporary Anchorage Devices” (TAD”S). These are pins made of titanium, just about 1.5 to 2 mm wide.
They are placed in the outer surface of the bone, under local anesthesia, either between adjacent roots of teeth or in the roof of the mouth, for anchorage. Their placement is minimally invasive. It can be done under topical gel anesthetic and takes a few minutes. In some patients, there may be some discomfort for the first 24 hours and that can be countered by having an anti inflammatory painkiller like paracetamol or brufen. After they are secured in position they are attached to afixed brace to help in the tooth movement. They are placed strategically, such that they move the teeth which need to be moved without compromising the position of the teeth which do not need to be moved.
They provide precise tooth movements, by acting as non moveable anchorage units. The results have a predictable amount of success and they help reduce the time of the treatment. They have converted certain cases involving orthognathic/ jaw surgeries into non surgical cases; eg they have converted certain bite problems by treating them conservatively. Another example of a case where TAD”s are used is where a lot of retraction of the protruding teeth is required. The advantage is that the displacement of the back molars is prevented and maximum use of the orthodontic spaces takes place.
In some cases their use, has eliminated the need for the external headgear to be worn by children.
As the name suggests, these anchorage devices are temporary and are removed once no tooth movement is required. They remain in the mouth for a few months to a few years, till the orthodontic treatment is being conducted. Their removal is a simple process. They are removed by unwinding them, sometimes without the use of anesthesia.
The patient should be careful about keeping them clean in the mouth. These are kept clean by using an antiseptic mouthwash on the manual brush egchlorhexidine. Electric brushes are to be avoided.
These mini implants are becoming an intrinsic part of progressive specialized orthodontic practices. The expertise of the orthodontist with these mini implants is a factor which would influence the final results.