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International Systems for Tooth Numbering
International Systems for Tooth Numbering

Do you want to know how many teeth your child has? Are you concerned which of his/her tooth would develop into a molar? Well, we at MedAsia Healthcare Complex, in Bangkok, Thailand, have the perfect solution to this problem and can help you calm your anxiety. Read on…

Without standard systems for tooth numbering recognized all over the globe, dentists of today would not be able to tell which tooth is which and refer to it in a consistent manner. As the decades have gone by, various tooth numbering systems have emerged with each claimed to be better than the last. General dentists have today settled on one of the following two tooth numbering systems that are globally recognized. Both of these two tooth-numbering systems are yet again divided into two with each having a numbering method for adults and children.

The Universal Tooth Numbering System

Despite the term ‘universal’ dentists in the United States predominantly use this type of tooth numbering system.

Universal Tooth Numbering System for Adults

In this system, the first tooth is known as tooth number one and it is a molar. This molar is found in the upper row of teeth on the right side of the patient’s mouth, also known as the maxillary jaw. This tooth has to be the first one identified before all the other teeth can be numbered.

To continue numbering the rest of the teeth, the dentist counts these upper teeth coming towards the front of the jaw. He then continues across the jaw all the way to the last molar, which will be horizontally opposite tooth number 1. This molar will be identified as number 16.

Once the top row of teeth has been counted, the dentist then moves to the lower jaw where he will begin with the molar on the left that is under number 16. This molar will also be a third molar and it will be identified as number 17. The dentist continues numbering all the teeth in the lower jaw, also known as the mandibular, all the way until he finishes at the last molar located on the right. This last molar will be numbered 32.

Universal Tooth Numbering System in Children

The total number of teeth in children is 20. These teeth are primary teeth, also known as deciduous teeth, as they will later be replaced by the permanent teeth.

The teeth are counted in the same order as they are in adults. The only difference when numbering the teeth in children is that each of the deciduous teeth is numbered and then the letter “d” is added to the number to help identify them as deciduous teeth.

The FDI World Dental Federation Notation System

This system is also referred to as the ISO-3950 notation and identifies the teeth in quadrants. Each of these quadrants will have 8 different types of teeth. Each quadrant is numbered 1-4 in adults and 5-8 in children. Like in a mirror, the teeth in the opposite quadrant will be the same type of teeth.

Every single one of these 8 different teeth is given a number (1-8). The numbering begins on the central incisor, which is the front tooth in the center of the jaw. The teeth are then numbered moving towards the last tooth at the back, the third molar that will be assigned number 8. Due to the combination of the quadrant number and the tooth number, this system got the name “Double digit notation system”.
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