How Do Teeth Get Numbered?

Most of us have heard it before: the dentist says in a low voice to the hygienist, “We’ve got decay on 22” or something of that nature. Every tooth in our mouth gets numbered in a systematic way that is universal for all patients, called ‘The Universal Numbering System.’ It enables dentists from different areas of the US to reference teeth in a standard format, as well as communicate with hygienists and assistants about care and treatment. The numbering system has been adopted by the American Dental Association and is also used by insurance companies across the country.

tooth numbers

The system starts with tooth #1, which is the maxillary (upper) right third molar. From there, the numbers advance along the maxillary arch all the way across and around to the maxillary (upper) left third molar, which is tooth #16.

After that, we drop down to the mandibular (lower) left third molar (tooth #17). Once again, we circle around the mandibular arch until tooth #32, the mandibular (lower) third molar, has been reached.

If a tooth is missing, the number is still carried out as if the tooth were still there.

If you’re interested in knowing exactly what we call each one of your teeth, check out this list:

Tooth #1: Maxillary (upper) right 3rd molar
Tooth #2: Maxillary (upper) right 2nd molar
Tooth #3: Maxillary (upper) right 1st molar
Tooth #4: Maxillary (upper) right 2nd premolar (bicuspid)
Tooth #5: Maxillary (upper) right 1st premolar (bicuspid)
Tooth #6: Maxillary (upper) right canine (cuspid)
Tooth #7: Maxillary (upper) right lateral incisor
Tooth #8: Maxillary (upper) right central incisor
Tooth #9: Maxillary (upper) left central incisor
Tooth #10: Maxillary (upper) left lateral incisor
Tooth #11: Maxillary (upper) left canine (cuspid)
Tooth #12: Maxillary (upper) left 1st premolar (bicuspid)
Tooth #13: Maxillary (upper) left 2nd premolar (bicuspid)
Tooth #14: Maxillary (upper) left 1st molar
Tooth #15: Maxillary (upper) left 2nd molar
Tooth #16: Maxillary (upper) left 3rd molar
Tooth #17: Mandibular (lower) left 3rd molar
Tooth #18: Mandibular (lower) left 2nd molar
Tooth #19: Mandibular (lower) left 1st molar
Tooth #20: Mandibular (lower) left 2nd premolar (bicuspid)
Tooth #21: Mandibular (lower) left 1st premolar (bicuspid)
Tooth #22: Mandibular (lower) left canine (cuspid)
Tooth #23: Mandibular (lower) left lateral incisor
Tooth #24: Mandibular (lower) left central incisor
Tooth #25: Mandibular (lower) right central incisor
Tooth #26: Mandibular (lower) right lateral incisor
Tooth #27: Mandibular (lower) right canine (cuspid)
Tooth #28: Mandibular (lower) right 1st premolar (bicuspid)
Tooth #29: Mandibular (lower) right 2nd premolar (bicuspid)
Tooth #30: Mandibular (lower) right 1st molar
Tooth #31: Mandibular (lower) right 2nd molar
Tooth #32: Mandibular (lower) right 3rd molar

If you have any questions about your dental health or if you would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact our team or make an appointment. Our incredible staff will give you the best dental care possible.

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Patient's Dental Dictionary | 6th Ave Periodontics