Dental 101 - Tooth Numbering - Dental Jobs Expert

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Dental 101 – Tooth Numbering

The reason behind tooth numbering is to help both the dentist and the patient to recognize which tooth that has the problem. Therefore, by knowing this basic dental knowledge, the patient and the dentist can avoid confusion. The tooth numbering system has been long known for hundreds of years, and there are currently two version adapted in various parts of the world. Needless to say, the adult and children have different methods in each system.

Tooth Numbering System in US

What you’re about to see below is a short explanation about these systems and who often use them:

  1. Universal Tooth Numbering System

This Universal Tooth Numbering System is widely known in many parts of the world, including the United States. Apparently, this system is often used by general dentists in the US. For adults, the teeth numbering starts with the upper right wisdom tooth (number 1) and then go to the upper left wisdom tooth (number 16). After that, the numbering continues with the lower left wisdom tooth (number 17), and then it ends at the lower right wisdom tooth (number 32).

In children, there’s an addition of a “d” after each number, and the numbering ends at 20 (10 upper teeth and 10 lower teeth). This lowercase letter of “d” helps the dentist to understand that it is a baby tooth. There are also some dentists that use letters instead of numbers (A to J) and (K to T).

  1. Palmer Notation Method

We’ve said earlier that many general dentists in US are using the universal tooth numbering system, but apparently when it comes to dental surgeon, most of them prefer to use the Palmer Notation Method instead.

In this method, the mouth is divided into four quadrants, namely URQ (Upper Right Quadrant), ULQ (Upper Left Quadrant), LLQ (Lower Left Quadrant) and the LRQ (Lower Right Quadrant). For adult patient, the numbering in each quadrant is consisted of 8 tooth (tooth number 1 is at the front and tooth number 8 is the third molar or wisdom tooth). Meanwhile, for children patients, the numbering in each quadrant is consisted of 5 tooth (with tooth number 1 is the front tooth)

So you see, it is pretty easy to remember these tooth numbering system used by dentists and oral surgeon in United States, right? Make sure you try to remember the system and you can help your dentist to find the problem faster! I hope this post help. Cheers.

One Comment


    November 2, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    Did you know that pediatric dental disease, also referred to as childhood tooth decay , is the #1 chronic childhood illness ? When left untreated, childhood tooth decay can have devastasting consequences that extend beyond the dental chair. Rampant decay can negatively impact a child s overall quality of life, inhibit their cognitive and social development and compromise their growth, function and self esteem.

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