How to Use the Universal Numbering System for Teeth


What’s the Universal Numbering System? tooth numbers dental a numbering system that allows you to take care of your tooth numbers dental instead of dental symbols. The good news is that it’s much easier to learn than the dental symbol chart, but you will still need to practice to get comfortable with it. This article will give you some tips on how to use the Universal Numbering System so that you can keep your teeth healthy and strong.

Understanding how to read dental records

Dentists use a universal numbering system to record information about teeth. The first two numbers refer to your quadrant (1st, 2nd or 3rd) and tooth number (1, 2, 3…
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); if there is more than one tooth in that quadrant/number combination, then there are two letters after those numbers. The second set of numbers—which can be repeated—is for counting teeth along that particular arch. So on top there are 8 central teeth: 4 incisors and 4 cuspids. In front of that you have another set of 8 permanent molars; behind that you have another 6 permanent premolars.

Understanding How to Read Dental X-Rays

Dental x-rays are a dentist’s best friend. X-rays allow us to see inside your mouth and identify dental problems that need to be addressed before they get out of hand. With one glance, we can evaluate tooth decay, tooth loss and other oral health issues. It’s important that you know how to read these pictures as well—after all, it is your mouth! The universal numbering system gives each tooth a number so that dentists and hygienists can easily communicate with each other about specific teeth.

What Is the Universal Tooth Numbering System?
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The Universal Tooth Numbering System is a way to reference each tooth of your mouth numerically. For example, upper right central incisor would be 7. This numbering system can also be used on wisdom teeth, as long as it’s clear which tooth you’re referring to. For example, lower left third molar would be 47. There are no specific guidelines for how to number wisdom teeth, but most dentists use a combination of letters and numbers (for example, 36C). Some dentists will use only numbers or only letters. If there are any discrepancies in tooth numbering between doctors or dentists, check with your dentist so that he or she can clarify what they mean by their notation. In most cases, however, using letters and numbers together should be sufficient.

Anatomy of a Tooth

If you’re going to learn about tooth numbering, it only makes sense that you first know something about teeth. The tooth is made up of three layers: enamel, dentin and cementum. It also has four parts: crown, neck, root and tip. You can think of these as being similar to an iceberg with crown as most visible part of tooth above gum line (like tip), neck is part of tooth that goes inside gums but is not covered by cementum (like root) and finally cementum which covers most of tooth below gum line (like root). The following diagram illustrates all four parts on a sectioned front tooth with #1 being defined as farthest back on side of mouth and #16 being closest front corner on right side.

Determining Age from Tooth Numbers

The key in determining age is looking at teeth numbers 20-29. When we are born, we only have four lower teeth and no upper teeth. Starting with our 6th tooth, there will be a new tooth every 6 months until our 20th tooth is present by age 18. For example, if someone has a tooth number of 23 on their lower left 2nd molar (2L), their age would be approximately 13 years old. Someone with a 32 on their 2L would be approximately 25 years old. (The universal numbering system does not apply to baby teeth or wisdom teeth.)

What do each of these numbers mean?

0. This means there is no tooth present at that spot on your mouth. 1: This is either a wisdom tooth or a canine (cuspid) tooth. 2: This is your first premolar tooth, sometimes also known as an bicuspid tooth. 3: This is your second premolar, also known as a bicuspid.

How Many Teeth Are There on Each Side?

The Universal Tooth Chart will help you find out how many teeth are on each side of your mouth. The chart is divided into four quadrants, so you can count each tooth on one or both sides of your mouth. For example, if you have one tooth missing in your upper left quadrant, then you have 26 teeth on that side; if two teeth are missing from your lower right quadrant, then you have 25 total teeth. The chart is pretty accurate as long as all of your teeth haven’t been pulled. If a tooth has been removed, it won’t be included in your dental count. If you want to know exactly how many teeth are there but aren’t sure where they’re located, ask a dentist at your next appointment. He or she should be able to give you an exact number after a quick examination. Remember: Braces and dental work can change tooth counts! Be sure to update any new information with your dentist before using the Universal Tooth Chart again.


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