Tooth Numbers Diagram:
There are different ways that dentists number teeth, but the Universal method shown below is generally accepted as the standard numbering method. Many orthodontists use the Palmer system, which is diagrammed a bit later.
The following two tooth number diagrams show the:
UNIVERSAL TOOTH NUMBERING SYSTEM
RIGHT AND LEFT: RIGHT and LEFT side referrals are ALWAYS THE PATIENT'S RIGHT AND LEFT.
NUMBERS: Teeth are numbered 1-16 from the UPPER RIGHT TO UPPER LEFT, and 17-32 from LOWER LEFT TO LOWER RIGHT. Teeth #1, 16, 17, 32 are the WISDOM TEETH, and are often EXTRACTED.
As shown in the tooth numbers diagram below:
UR: upper right
UL: upper left
LR: lower right
LL: lower left
PALMER TOOTH NUMBERING SYSTEM:
The Palmer system is often used by orthodontists, and is numbered #1-#8, starting with the central incisors and going back as the diagrams below indicate. The box corners are placed by each number to dictate which quadrant of the mouth is being noted.
Because the 32 teeth are only numbered 1-8, this can cause some confusion since 8 sets of 4 teeth all have the same number, unlike the universal system above where all teeth have their own unique number.
Note that the 4 wisdom teeth are all #8, and are not shown in the tooth number diagrams below since they are often extracted.
PRIMARY TOOTH NUMBER DIAGRAM:
PRIMARY TEETH are LETTERED A-J, from UPPER RIGHT TO UPPER LEFT, and K-T, from LOWER LEFT TO LOWER RIGHT.
PERMANENT PREMOLARS erupt IN PLACE of PRIMARY MOLARS.
PERMANENT MOLARS erupt BEHIND PRIMARY MOLARS.
This refers to the stage during adolescence when a child has both primary and permanent teeth. After the primary teeth are lost, permanent teeth erupt into their places. The diagram below is of about a 5 year old, so still with primary teeth, but it shows which permanent teeth come into their places.
The mesial (MEE-ze-ul) side of a tooth is the side closest to the center of the mouth. For example, in the above tooth numbers diagrams, the mesial side of #3 is the side that touches #4, the mesial side of #4 is the side that touches #5, and so on.
On the other side however, the mesial side of #14 is the side that touches #13, the mesial side of #13 is the side that touches #12, and so on.
The distal (DIST-ul) side of a tooth is the side furthest from the center, which is also the opposite ofmesial. If you refer the the tooth numbers diagrams, the mesial of #3 contacts the distal of #4, themesial of #4 contacts the distal of #5, and so on.
The occlusal side of the posterior teeth is the side that chews the food, and the side that contacts the teeth in the opposing arch.
The incisal side is the edge of the front 6 upper and lower teeth that you bite off food with. It is analogous to the occlusal surface in the posterior teeth.
FACIAL or BUCCAL or LABIAL:
This is the outer side of the teeth that people see when you smile. Facial refers to the side of the tooth that your face is on, buccal refers to the side of the tooth that contacts your cheeks, and labial refers to the side of the tooth that contacts your lips.
All three of these terms are used pretty much interchangeably.
This is the side of either your upper or lower teeth that is opposite the facial side, or the side that people do not see when you smile. Lingual refers to the tongue side of the tooth.
This is the same as the lingual side above, but is only used when talking about the upper teeth, since the palate is the general area of the roof of your mouth.
When fillings are done, the dentist will talk about which surfaces the filling will involve.
MO = MESIAL + OCCLUSAL DO = DISTAL + OCCLUSAL MOD = MESIAL + DISTAL + OCCLUSAL
So when you see your bill, and see a bunch of letters as above, you'll know what was involved.
For Tooth #13, MO filling, This is a filling on tooth #13 that involved the mesial and occlusal surfaces.
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