Ask a Dentist

May 14, 2020

Q: Why does my toddler have an underbite?

child smiling and leaning against a wall

A: Underbites, where the lower teeth protrude further than the upper teeth, are uncommon, affecting about 7 to 10% of people. Underbites may be caused by genetics. Thumb-sucking, tongue-thrusting, improper chewing, or mouth breathing may also lead to underbites.

More common are overbites, where the upper teeth cover the bottom teeth slightly, which affect about 70% of people.

Unfortunately, underbites tend to be more painful than overbites. Your toddler may experience straining in their teeth or jaw muscles, so see a dentist and get treatment as soon as you notice the underbite. Without treatment, an underbite may lead to enamel erosion, chewing difficulty, lowered self-esteem, altered face shape, or speech impediment.

After diagnosing an underbite, your dentist may refer you to an orthodontist, who will prescribe appropriate treatment. Braces, retainers, headgear or surgery are options for treating an underbite. Treatment depends on the severity of the underbite.

The good news is that underbites are curable with the right treatment. Teeth come in all shapes, sizes and alignments, so it’s good to get bi-annual check-ups with your dentist.

Regular check-ups can help make sure your child isn’t experiencing any oral health complications.If you're looking for a Winnipeg dentist for your toddler, we have two locations: one at St. Vital Centre and the other at Garden City Shopping Centre. Schedule an appointment today.