By age 7, most children have a mix of primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth. Some orthodontic problems seen in children are inherited from their parents. Common problems may be: dental crowding, too much spacing between teeth, protruding upper teeth, missing or extra teeth and jaw growth problems.
Other orthodontic problems are acquired. These problems develop over time. Some of these acquired problems may be caused by: thumb or finger sucking, mouth breathing, dental disease, tongue thrust swallow, poor dental hygiene, early or late loss of baby teeth and trauma.
Early detection of problems can be advantageous for patients since some problems may be easier to correct if they are found and treated early. Waiting for all the permanent teeth to be present, or until growth ceases, may make correction of some problems more difficult requiring more extensive orthodontic treatment or even surgery later.