Lack of Canine Guidance, Lack of Lateral Guidance

- feature of unhealthy teeth

Teeth showing lack of canine guidance.
These worn-down canines mean there's nothing to stop the back teeth colliding as the jaw is moved to the side


When the jaw is moved to the side the geometry of the canines does not prevent the back teeth from contacting. This can also be described as lack of lateral guidance.

Reason this is not good:

Molars have relatively short roots (compared to your front teeth) and are only good at taking forces that are on their longitudinal axis. Without canine guidance the molars are likely to hit in ways that generate sideways forces. These forces can cause the teeth to loosen, possibly accompanied by the gum and bone receding, and progressing to the teeth falling out. Continual rubbing of the back teeth can also cause sensitive teeth, worn teeth, cracking, fracturing and other undesirable effects.

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Things that can go wrong if you don't have canine guidance:

Treating Lack of Canine Guidance

If the lack of canine guidance is caused by the positions of otherwise healthy canines, the guidance may be restored by repositioning the teeth orthodontically.

It can sometimes be possible to provide some protection by using the next teeth back from the canines if they have sufficient structure to allow them to be used, but that is not an ideal solution.

Otherwise, if the guidance has broken down because of severe wear of the canines, as illustrated in the photograph above, the teeth have to be restored with crowns and/or other restoration procedures.

See also:

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