Anterior Guidance, Protrusive Guidance

- feature of healthy teeth


When you slide your jaw forwards with the front teeth touching, they should "guide" the rear teeth apart — i.e. slide forwards and your molars should separate immediately. Some people call this protrusive guidance and use the term "anterior guidance" to encompass both canine guidance and protrusive guidance. It can also be described by the way it separates the back teeth using the term "posterior disclusion".

Reason this is Good:

Molars have relatively short roots (compared to your front teeth) and are only good at taking forces that are on their longitudinal axis (see video). Also, the force generated on the molars can be up to 12 times greater than that exerted on the front teeth — under this amount of force you clearly want to avoid molars rubbing together in ways that give off-axis forces. With anterior guidance the molars are protected from the back teeth hitting each other's forward and backward slopes.

More on Anterior Guidance/Protrusive Guidance:

See also:


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Video Transcript

Anterior guidance is a feature where the front teeth ensure that the back teeth don't contact when the jaw is slid forward. This is important because the back teeth are good at taking longitudinal forces, but they are not built to take off-center forces.

You can check if you have good anterior guidance by sliding your jaw forwards while maintaining contact between your front teeth. Throughout this motion you should feel no contact between your back teeth. If you do feel a contact, called an interference, you have work that needs to be done to avoid greater problems down the road.

Finally note that anterior guidance requires three features to be working in harmony:

  • First the position and slope of the back of your upper front teeth.
  • Second the position and length of your lower front teeth
  • And third the slope of the front part of your jaw's socket.

These three factors combine to provide anterior guidance.