Orthodontic problems are referred to as a malocclusion—a “bad bite”—and are sometimes inherited such as in the case of facial structure or missing teeth. Infrequently are they true genetic problems. Commonly, orthodontic problems are due to conditions present during the growth and development of the teeth and jaws, such as: early or late loss of baby teeth, poor oral hygiene, cavities or gum disease, trauma, thumb, lip, or object sucking, abnormal swallowing or speech, skeletal discrepancies, mouth breathing, allergies, and poor nutrition.
Orthodontists see the causes and effects of orthodontic problems daily and can make recommendations to help guide growth or intervene when necessary. The American Academy of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic checkup at age 7 so they can be screened for any orthodontic problems that may need intervention at the present or in the future.