Why Teeth Are Numbered And How To Understand The System

25 October 2018
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


If you have ever sat in a dentist's chair listening to the hygienist and dentist talk back and forth in terms of numbers, you might have wondered what they were even talking about. Dentists use a numbering system for teeth, and most use a system called the Universal Numbering System. This is the main system used by dentists, and here are several things you should know about this so you have an idea of what they are talking about next time you are sitting in a dental chair.

This system numbers teeth from 1 to 32

The Universal Numbering System numbers each tooth in your mouth, including teeth you do not even have, by starting at number 1 on the upper right side of your mouth. Tooth number 1 actually refers to the wisdom tooth in the upper right side. If you do not have wisdom teeth, you would not have a tooth labeled "1."

As you move towards the left side of your mouth, each tooth has a number, and the last tooth on your upper jaw, found on the left side, is number 16. Tooth number 17 is the tooth directly below tooth number 16, so the numbering system continues by starting on the lower jaw on the left side and working its way all the way to the right side. The last tooth on your lower right side is tooth 32, and this refers to the wisdom tooth in this area.

The system also refers to areas in the mouth as quadrants

There are four main areas in the mouth, and dentists often call these quadrants. Therefore, you have four quadrants in your mouth. If you begin with the upper part of your mouth, you will find quadrants one and two. Quadrant one is on the right side of your mouth, while quadrant two is the left side.

The lower part of your mouth contains quadrants three and four. Quadrant three is your left side on the lower part, while quadrant four is your right side. As you can see, the quadrants begin on the upper right and work their way around in a circle ending with quadrant four on your lower right side.

Dentists use a numbering system to keep track of work needed on teeth, and that is why you will often hear them talking in terms of numbers. If you have questions about this or would like to visit a family dentistry clinic, contact a dentist like Clendenon Kirby DDS today.