Childhood orthodontics, or interceptive orthodontics, can be less invasive and even less painful than treatment for older age groups. Often, when orthodontists work on more mature patients, correcting problems such as overbites, underbites, crossbites, and crowding requires tooth extraction, in order to provide room for adjustments.
In treating a child, however, the jaw and teeth are not yet in fixed positions. This allows orthodontists to proactively mold the teeth and jaw into optimal positioning without pulling teeth. When treating children, orthodontists will often use a palatal expander to widen the upper arch. Expanders are also placed on the lower arch to reduce crowding and to keep bite aligned when expanding the upper arch. This treatment provides the space needed for adult teeth to erupt in an aesthetically and functionally sound position, without the trauma of pulling teeth.