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Why A Temporary Anchorage Device Is Helpful With Braces For Closing Gaps

Braces are the most commonly used item for straightening teeth because they offer an effective way to have nicer teeth. Not only can braces align teeth into the proper positioning, but braces can also fix other issues, such as gaps between the teeth. If your child is missing one or more molar teeth, an orthodontist might be able to close the gap he or she has by using braces and a temporary anchorage device. If your child has a gap from a missing tooth, here are a few things you should know about this.

Reasons Children Might Have These Gaps

The first thing to realize is that braces are not used to close gaps when teeth are missing simply because they have not yet erupted. In fact, an orthodontist would take special efforts to make sure the gap does not close if there is an adult tooth that will be erupting in this particular spot. There are several reasons, though, that kids may have permanent gaps where molar teeth should be.

  • The child's molar tooth had to be extracted – If a child develops major cavities on a tooth that are beyond repairable, the only thing a dentist might be able to do is extract the tooth. Tooth extractions might also be necessary if a permanent is loose due to trauma to the tooth.
  • The child is congenitally missing the tooth – There are also times when permanent teeth are missing. In other words, these teeth are not there and never will be there. Once the baby tooth in this space falls out, the gap will permanently be there until something is done to fix it.

If you are not sure what to do about the gap, visiting an orthodontist is a great way to find out what your options are.

Challenges Of Closing Gaps With Braces Alone

If there is a gap between a child's front teeth, closing it is not very hard to do with braces. The braces will guide the front teeth towards each other until the gap is closed, and this is a fairly common task accomplished with braces. When there is a gap where a molar tooth should exist, the task is harder to accomplish.

The reason for this is because when gaps are filled with teeth, it requires pulling the back teeth up further to fill in the gaps. When teeth must move closer to the front of the mouth, it can cause the child's bite to change. In addition, trying to force teeth to come forward goes against the way teeth are able to shift naturally or with braces.

How Temporary Anchorage Devices Work

If the orthodontist wants to protect the child's bite and work against the way teeth normally shift, he or she might recommend using a temporary anchorage device. This device is often called a temporary implant because it is placed into the child's jawbone. It is only temporary though, which means it will be removed when the goals are achieved. The main goal is to force the back teeth further towards the front of the mouth so that they fill in the area where the gap is.

A temporary anchor is made of titanium alloy in most cases. The orthodontist inserts it vertically into the jawbone in front of the child's teeth. You will be able to see it after it is inserted by looking into your child's mouth. The anchor is then attached to the teeth that need to move forward to fill in the gap. This system is very effective for helping move back teeth forward without changing the child's bite.

If you would like to learn more about braces and how they can help your child's teeth, contact an orthodontist today.