Overbites and Underbites
The typical bite will depend on the breed of your dog. If your dog breed has a more natural head shape such as a Groodle or Labradoodle, then the perfect bite would be a scissor bite where the incisor teeth from the top jaw are in contact with the incisor teeth from the bottom jaw but are positioned slightly in front like two blades of a scissor if viewed from the side of your dog’s mouth. Any deviation from the traditional scissor bite is known as malocclusion in dogs. If you own a breed with quite a short muzzle, then chances are that your dogs, just like many of the other dogs of this breed will have an underbite. In some breeds such as the Pug and the Bulldog, this bite in required and selected for as part of the breed standard. It is what gives them their look and is a by-product of a short face. Designer breed dogs such as Puggle puppies will often have an underbite due to their Pug heritage.
What is an overshot bite?
An overshot bite or overbite (brachygnathism) is where the upper jaw extends past the lower jaw, causing a gap between the incisors of the upper teeth and the incisors of the lower teeth. This prevents the teeth from each jaw from fitting as snugly as they would normally be.
What is an undershot bite?
An undershot bite or underbite (prognathism) is where the dog will have their incisor teeth from the bottom jaw protruding past the incisor teeth of the top jaw to give a ‘Bulldoggy’ appearance.
What is a level bite?
A Pincer or level bite is where the incisor teeth from the bottom jaw meet directly on top of the incisor teeth of the bottom jaw.
Are some pure breeds and designer breeds more likely to have undershot bites?
Any pure breed with short muzzles as well as any designer breed that has a parent that is a Pug, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or Maltese have a higher likelihood of having an underbite and in all but the most severe cases it does not affect them as companion dogs.
Will and overbite or underbite affect my dog?
The vast majority of underbites and overbites will not affect the dog’s ability to eat or chew and dogs with either of these bites still make wonderful pets. If an overbite is very severe, the dog may require some surgery, such as tooth extraction if a tooth is growing into the opposite gum, but these instances are fairly rare. If you choose to buy your dog from a reputable source then you will be supplied with a veterinary certificate to let you know that a veterinarian has examined the dog and has given the dog a clean bill of health. The breeder will be able to let you know if the veterinarian believes that any over or underbite will cause the dog any issues later in life.
Can an overbite or underbite be corrected?
Some specialised veterinarians can perform surgery to correct incorrect bites but this is normally only done in extreme cases and for the vast majority of cases the mouth is left alone. Many puppies will go through stages where it seems that they are over or undershot as they grow but will often have the correct bite when they are adults.