Orthodontic is the discipline that involves the movement of mal-erupted or maloccluding teeth in order to give the patient a more comfortable bite. These teeth often poorly erupt due to the presence and retention of deciduous or baby teeth. If diagnosed early during the phase of adult tooth eruption, the baby teeth can interceptively be extracted. This allows the permanent tooth to erupt into the space vacated by the extracted deciduous tooth. This is called interceptive orthodontics because interceding therapy alters the course of permanent teeth eruption. Although it is not using an appliance to cause tooth movement, it creates a course of least resistance or a pathway for the erupting adult to move into a more physiological position.
Once an adult tooth has already mal-erupted, it is necessary to use appliances to actively put gentle pressure to move these teeth. This can be done with elastics, incline acrylic bite planes or metal wire fabrications.