Hereditary plays a large part in whether you'll develop bite problems. While there's not much you can do to prevent these causes of malocclusions, you can look for their symptoms and start treatment. The earlier you catch bite problems, the easier they are to treat. Your dentist can tell you which of the following conditions may cause malocclusion:
Abnormal Jaw Size -- An abnormally sized or malformed jaw is one of the major causes of malocclusions known as overbites and underbites. For instance, if the lower jaw is smaller than the upper jaw, an overbite will form, while a larger lower jaw may result in an underbite.
Abnormally Shaped Teeth -- Sometimes the jaw size is fine, but the teeth may be too large or too small for the jaw. Teeth that are too large can cause overcrowding, while smaller teeth could create spaces between them. Teeth that form an odd shape or grow in an angle can keep the jaw from lining up properly when you bite down.
Impacted Teeth -- When there's not enough room for wisdom teeth to appear, they can become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth may grow in at an angle, putting pressure on other teeth and causing them to shift.
Birth Defects -- Cleft lip and palate is a common birth defect that causes malocclusions.
Extra Teeth -- Although rare, some patients may develop an extra tooth or set of teeth, called supernumerary teeth. Scientists aren't quite sure why this happens, but it's believed to be hereditary, possibly forming if a tooth bud splits or there's hyperactivity in the dental lamina (the tissue that eventually forms a tooth) during development.
Baby Teeth that Don't Fall Out -- In cases where baby teeth are not lost prior to the eruption of adult teeth, patients can also experience overcrowding and shifting of the teeth. Adult teeth that grow in behind baby teeth are a typical cause of malocclusion known as a crossbite.