What are miniscrews?

Mini-screws are small titanium screws which are inserted in the gums under local anaesthetic as anchor points for braces. They are also known as mini- or micro-anchorage devices, or mini-implants.

When are miniscrews used?

Miniscrews are an alternative to other options which are not always well tolerated such as headgear or extraction of teeth. Sometimes we are able to move teeth with miniscrews which cannot be moved by any other means.

Where are they placed?

You will need to have some X-rays taken of the area in which the screws will be placed. Miniscrews are generally placed close to the back teeth or in the roof of the mouth so are not usually seen when you talk or smile.

How are they placed?

First a small amount of local anaesthetic is placed into the gum area where the miniscrew will be inserted. This is the only time you should feel any discomfort and it lasts only a few seconds. The miniscrew is inserted with a special tool. No discomfort should be felt at this stage.

How do they connect to the brace?

The miniscrew is connected to the brace by means of fine wires or small elastic bands.

How often will I need to be seen by the orthodontist?

You will need to be reviewed every 6 to 8 weeks at the same time as having your brace adjusted.

Are there any risks with miniscrews?

Failure rates are about 10%. In the event of the miniscrew loosening, another one can be inserted in the same or a different location. Although unlikely, a miniscrew could make contact with the root of a tooth during placement or once the teeth start to move. If this happens, the miniscrew would be withdrawn and inserted again in a different location. Rarely, a miniscrew may fracture and the remnant may need to be removed.

How long will the screw be in place?

The miniscrew is usually used for several months but not for the whole duration of the orthodontic treatment. Removal of the miniscrew is easy and does not usually need local anaesthetic.