What is an orthodontic mini-screw?

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It is a small metal screw which is inserted through the gum into the bone around the teeth. It acts as an anchor from which force can be applied to poorly positioned teeth in order to move these into normal alignment.

Why does my child need to have a mini-screw?

In order to move a group of teeth, the adjacent stationary group of teeth provides a stable support for the force applied by the brace. When there is a requirement for greater support, a mini-screw can be used to act as an ‘anchor’ to help straighten your teeth and closing up gaps.

How will a mini-screw be placed?

A mini-screw can be placed at any time during brace treatment. Local anesthetic is used to numb the

gum and then the screw is gently inserted directly into the bone with a special screwdriver. The patient might experience an odd pressure sensation as the screw is inserted. A brace can be attached to the screw straightaway, which we call immediate loading.

What are the possible risks?

The screw may touch a tooth root during placement. The root should heal after removal of screw.

If the screw becomes loose, it can be inserted to a different, suitable location.

1% of screws may break during placement. If this happens, it is removed. However, if the tip of the screw is fractured, this small part can be left in the bone.

There might be a localized infection, which can be avoided if the patient keeps the area clean as advised.

What if I as a parent do not want a mini-screw placed in my child’s mouth?

There are various ways to straighten teeth and close spaces. Mini-screws are often used to make the

appliance treatment more efficient and effective while reducing the treatment period. Alternative options may involve wearing headgear, tooth extractions or accepting spaces between teeth. Your

orthodontist will inform you on the best approach to get a good result. However, the final decision is yours.

How long will the mini-screw be in my child’s mouth?

It is usually in place for several months whilst the teeth are being moved into a better position. Once

tooth movement is complete, the screws are taken out.

How is the mini-screw removed?

Very simply. No local anesthetic is usually necessary. The gum and bone underneath will heal up completely within a few days with no discomfort.

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