A bone anchor is a small metal plate that is attached to the upper or lower jaw with two or three screws. A small portion of it comes out in the mouth through the gums and can be used to attach the orthodontic wire or rubber bands.
The main advantage of using bone anchors is that it is possible to move several teeth without moving other teeth that are in good position. Especially in the event of non-aligned teeth and/or molars, bone anchors can be an effective solution; usually one or two bone anchors are needed. In some special situations, it is also possible to influence the jaw growth with the help of bone anchors; usually, 4 bone anchors are needed (as shown in the picture above)
Placing a bone anchor
The bone anchor is usually placed under local anaesthesia by the oral surgeon. After making a small incision in the gums, the oral surgeon screws the bone anchor to the jawbone. Then the gums are stitched again. The placement of a bone anchor takes about 15 minutes. Sometimes we ask the oral surgeon to place multiple bone anchors. Usually, two anchors are placed at a time. To prevent the cheek from swelling as much as possible, it is wise to take a flannel along with you containing an ice pack (= gel in a plastic bag). Use this in the first two hours after the treatment by keeping it on for 5 minutes and off for 5 minutes.
The use of the bone anchor
A bone anchor generally (95-98%) remains in place during the treatment. Please follow the surgeon’s advice carefully. In the period of 1-4 weeks after placement of the bone anchor, we will apply some pressure to the bone anchor to help it fuse correctly. During the braces treatment, keep the gums around the bone anchor especially clean, even though this may be challenging, to reduce the chance of infection (and loosening of the anchor). An electric toothbrush is best for keeping teeth clean with braces; however, gently brush the area around the bone anchor with a soft manual toothbrush, at least for the first month. Rinse well with the chlorhexidine for which you will receive a prescription from the oral surgeon.
Removing the bone anchor
After the bone anchor is no longer required, it will be removed or ground down to the bone level.
The placement and removal of bone anchors may not be covered by health insurance: cost €761.21 – €2,339.80