Removable appliances can look like retainers, but they are used to move selected teeth, to hold selected teeth in place, to influence growth of the jaws, and to influence tooth eruption. Often pediatric dentists use removable appliances for their patients whose orthodontic needs are relatively minor.
Removable appliances cannot be used to treat all orthodontic problems. Pediatric dentists are trained to recognize when their patients are in need of care from a trained orthodontic specialist, and will make the appropriate referral. It takes skill and experience to recognize conditions that can be successfully treated with removable appliances.