Canine Guidance, Lateral Guidance

- feature of healthy teeth


When you slide your jaw to the side with upper and lower canines touching, they should “guide” the rear teeth apart – i.e. slide to the side and your molars should separate immediately.

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).

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

See also:


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Video Transcript

Using BiteFX to explain canine guidance

Canine guidance is a feature where your canines ensure that the back teeth don't contact when the jaw is slid to the side.

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 canine guidance by moving your jaw to the side while maintaining contact between your canines. Throughout this motion you should feel no contact between your back teeth whether you move to the left or the right. If you do feel a contact, called an interference, chances are that you are beginning to experience problems with the contacting teeth and need some work done to prevent increasing problems in the future.

Finally note that total canine guidance requires three features to be working in harmony (nearside guidance – that is the side you are moving towards - mostly depends on the first two of these features):

  • First the position and slope of the inside of your upper canine
  • Second the position and length of your lower canine
  • Farside guidance mostly depends on the third of these features, namely the fact that the condyle (that is the upper part of the jaw bone) is being forced down as it navigates the downward slope of the farside jaw socket – something you can observe if you watch this animation closely.

These three factors combine to provide canine guidance.