Understanding teeth numbers may be difficult sometimes. We bet you experienced that moment when sitting in the chair at the orthodontic office and hearing your doctor say something like “11, 26, 45, 48” or you must have struggled reading your dental treatment plan. Sometimes, it seems like deciphering a difficult table from a statistics book. No, we aren’t really talking in a different language nor it’s a statistical data, we just use the dental language where every number means a specific tooth.
Data collected from surveys show that most patients have difficulty understanding one of the most significant documents they are likely to encounter in the course of their orthodontic or dental treatment plan. The treatment plans are presented based on The Federation Dentaire Internationale Numbering System (FDI) or The Universal Numbering System which has been adopted by the ADA and is in use by most orthodontist and general dentists today in the United States. A layman can’t understand these terms unless someone in the clinic explains it thoroughly, it’s a struggle.
Well, here is a quick guide that can help you identify teeth numbers and names, so you can understand what dentist or orthodontist is talking about.
ADA Universal Numbering System
We know teeth based on names, such as molar, incisor, or wisdom tooth but you might not know what are the teeth numbers. At Orthodontic Experts your teeth are identified by their numbers.
The ADA Universal Numbering System treats the 32 permanent teeth in a clockwise fashion as seen by your dentist or orthodontist. Teeth number 1 – 16 are on your upper jaw and teeth numbers 17 – 32 are in your lower jaw.
For instance, teeth number 1, 16, 17, and 32 are your wisdom teeth and teeth numbers 14 and 15 are your upper left molars.
Teeth Numbers and Names (FDI)
Internationally the two-digit system is used worldwide for teeth numbers. Every branch of dentistry uses this system. Each quadrant is assigned a number. The maxillary right quadrant is assigned the number 1, the maxillary left quadrant is assigned the number 2, the mandibular left quadrant is assigned the number 3, and the lower right quadrant is assigned the number 4.Each tooth within a quadrant is assigned a number from 1 through 8 with 1 being the central incisor and 8 being the 3rd molar. Each quadrant number and tooth numbers are written together to give every tooth a number.
For example, your upper right central incisor is the 1st tooth of your 1st quadrant that’s why assigned number 11 and your upper right third Molar is the 8th tooth of your 1st quadrant that’s why given number 18. Similarly, quadrant numbers and tooth numbers for all the teeth makes two-digit teeth numbers.
See the Image below that explains what all these numbers you ever heard actually mean.
So that’s a handy guide for understanding teeth numbers in your treatment plan. If you still have difficulty understanding your treatment plan, post your questions below. You can get in touch with us by giving us a call or sending an email. Our experienced orthodontists would love to answer your questions. If you are tired off croocked teeth and willing to have beautiful straight smile, book your free consultation now.