Although malocclusion in its many forms is common in a civilized community, the causes of some of these conditions are, at present, only imperfectly understood. There are types of malocclusion which have an obvious cause and are preventable or readily amenable to treatment at the proper time. There are some forms of malocclusion where the cause is more obscure and the result less ready to respond to treatment unless by prolonged and complicated techniques. Yet others are believed to be hereditary in origin and beyond prevention. If orthodontic treatment is given in these latter cases, it may only be palliative in nature and applied with the intention of obtaining an aesthetic or functional improvement in the occlusion within the limits set by heredity. Even here, however, the treatment may be more effective if the intervention is timely than if it is delayed until a full malocclusion is established.
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