What is The Orthodontic Anchorage Control Technique?

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In dentistry, the anchorage is the resistance used to manipulate undesired tooth movement, and for dentists, anchorage loss can be a significant problem during treatment. Anchorage control must be maintained to help patients maintain the easiest tooth movement possible, and throughout dentistry, numerous techniques are used to provide safe movement over time. Throughout this article, we’ll provide some basic insight into anchorage control, what it means for your teeth, and how we work with the best techniques to give you a straighter smile. 

How Does Anchorage Technique Work? 

Since the early 20th century, dentists have been working with anchorage techniques to help ease the process of tooth movement for patients with severely misaligned teeth. Dr. Henry Albert Baker developed the first anchorage device, which introduced intermaxillary elastics to assist the wires and brackets in their tooth movement. The Baker technique helped eliminate the need for tooth extractions. Many dentists today have improved on the original technique, taking inspiration from bio-friendly materials and enhanced studies of the oral cavity to accomplish this goal. 

However, with this comes vast, complex conversations about techniques and materials used in dentistry, where many dentists have their preferences on how orthodontic tooth movement should be done for patients. While there’s a general rule out there, patients with complex tooth cases tend to become points of interest for dentists due to how different approaches can be, depending on the expertise and framework of the dentist. Intraoral methods and extraoral appliances are often used interchangeably to accomplish the same goal. Still, one of the key things to note about anchorage control is that it all comes down to the patient themselves in what they want, what they can afford, and what they need most to straighten their teeth. 

This is where the diagnosis process comes in – diagnostics play an essential role in how teeth are classified, observed, and treated overall. For orthodontic tooth movement, this is especially important to avoid future complications.

Intraoral Methods vs. Extraoral Appliances: Which is Better? 

Overall, there are two types of methods or anchorage that dentists can use, depending on the diagnostics and needs of the patient, which include: 

  • Intraoral Methods: Intraoral methods refer to changing the internal structure of the mouth to accommodate treatment options. These methods include increasing the number of teeth through ligatures, fixed anchorage appliances, tooth springs, cortical bone anchorage, the palatal arch, and other areas of the mouth to find areas where the teeth can be supported and moved gradually. 
  • Extraoral Appliances: These devices are some of the strongest and most reliable reinforcement methods because of their lack of reliance on the internal structure of the mouth. These appliances specifically refer to cervical and high-pull headgear that relies on the head to provide sustaining, gradual force for tooth movement. However, dentists using this equipment need to have a deep understanding of head and neck movement about force to be able to avoid complications with these devices. 

Both of these methods provide substantial tooth movement through anchorage techniques, but it’s up to the dentist’s discernment to provide you with what you need from your dental care. 


Alireza Movassaghi, D.D.S and Other Dentist Torrance Dental Associates is proud to be the home of Dr. Alireza Movassaghi, a USC School of Dentistry Graduate with 30 years of experience. His mission is to expand access to dental care throughout the Los Angeles area. When not engaged in providing expert dental care for his patients, he's taking in the latest soccer game and enjoying fine cars.
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