Anchorage Devices For Orthodontic Treatment

Here you can find:

  • General description
  • FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
  • Postoperative Instructions

An orthodontist often enlists the help of an oral surgeon when he needs to add ANCHORAGE DEVICES to help move the teeth. The basic premise of orthodontics is you can move teeth into different positions by tying the teeth together with wires attached to glued on brackets. By holding onto several teeth, you can pull and push a tooth in the desired directions. Sometimes, holding onto groups of teeth for anchorage is not good enough. The orthodontist wants to hold onto something really strong in order to push the tooth in the desired direction. In this case, anchorage devices are placed. These are EITHER screws or plates that go into the bone. Elastics are placed around the screws or plates and attached to the teeth that s/he wants to move. These devices can be simple screws or bone plates that are anchored into the cheekbone or side of the nose. The bone plates are thin and made of titanium. An incision is made inside your mouth and the incision is closed with stitches. The surgery is not painful, and you can return to work or school the next day. However, you will feel sore like a bruise in the area and you will swell somewhat for one week. The screws or bone plates are removed at the end of treatment. The surgery can be performed under local anesthesia (numbing) or while you are asleep (INTRAVENOUS ANESTHESIA).

Because the orthodontist is applying a lot of force to the bone plates or screws, the screw or plate may loosen with time and need to be replaced. The screws and bone plates stick out from the gum. In some people the space for the bone plate is limited and the gum may overgrow partially over the plate. So long as the plate is exposed, you will be able to place the elastic over the plate onto the teeth.


No. This will often occur. So long as you can place your elastic over the metal plate it should be fine. When the plate is removed, the cheek swelling will usually disappear.

It is sometimes difficult for the surgeon to find good enough bone in an area away from the cheek.

Sometimes the screw will need to be repositioned.

The choice of screw or a bone plate attached with screws depends on the amount of force that needs to be applied.

Most commonly people have nickel allergies. The titanium plates do not pose a problem. If you have severe allergies, Dr. Heffez will tape the plate to your forearm 48 hours prior to the procedure and verify if you react to the metal in the plate. Though the plate is made of titanium, it is an alloy that contains other metals such as vanadium and aluminum. Stainless steel plates are no longer used. The orthodontist has likely used titanium wires around the brackets on your teeth.


Generally, you may resume your Invisalign trays that evening and brush your teeth as normal. This is a very simple, nn invasive procedure.

In general, avoid chewing hard food on the side of the screw.

You may gently brush the screw if food debris accumulates around it.

AFTER HOURS DR. HEFFEZ TEL. # 224-707-0039

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