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Dental Numbering Systems

Are you familiar with dental numbering systems? Even if you think you’ve never heard of such a thing, you’ve participated in the process! Think back to your last trip to the dentist’s office. Remember how the dentist was saying different numbers while looking around your mouth? They were using a system designed to make the dental language much easier between practices. There are three different dental numbering systems.

Universal Numbering System

This is by far the most used dental numbering system by general dentists. The teeth will be numbered between 1 and 32, beginning with the farthest tooth to the back on the upper right side of the jaw. From the right side of the jaw, you continue counting across the top until you reach the back left tooth (#16). Then you drop down to the back left tooth on the bottom left and starting at #17. Continue counting until you reach the back right bottom. Any missing teeth will still be counted as a number, instead of simply being left out.

Federation Dentaire Internationale Numbering System

The FDI system is a globally-used system that assigns each quadrant of the mouth a number 1 through 4. The top right is #1, top left #2, bottom left #3, and bottom right is #4. Then each of the eight teeth and each molar are number 1 through 8. Unlike the Universal Numbering System, the 1 start at the front middle tooth and the numbers rise the farther back we go. So for example, the back tooth on the lower left side would be #48.

Palmer Notation Numbering System

This system is similar to the FDI, but has a couple key differences. The teeth are still split into four quadrants, but instead of being labeled 1 through 4, they are instead different L-shapes. The top left quadrant is a regular L, the top right is a reverse L, the bottom left is an upside-down L, and the bottom right is both upside-down and reversed. The teeth are still counted 1 through 8, just like the FDI system, with the tooth’s number being place inside the L of the quadrant.

Looking for a Dentist?

Barganier & LeCroy are dentists in Hoover, Alabama with a reputation for providing the best service in the area. We have years of experience with every type of dental situation imaginable, and we are happy to discuss any issue with our clients. Visit our website or contact us for more information about our services.