Daily Bolus of LR: Dental Nomenclature

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May 4, 2011 by dailybolusoflr

Dental Nomenclature

When describing teeth, it is important to be able to appropriately reference and document which tooth you are talking about.

Adults have 32 teeth.

* Starting with the front two teeth, we have 4 upper and lower incisors (two on each side)
* Next comes one canine tooth
* Next comes two premolar teeth
* Last comes the three molars (technically two molars and one “wisdom” tooth)

When numbering, start from the upper most lateral right tooth ( the wisdom or third molar) and begin with one. There are 16 teeth on the top and 16 teeth on the bottom. Numbering continues from right to left on the top and then continues from 17-32 on the bottom from left to right.

Children have a total of 20 teeth.

For a diagrammatic representation, please see the following:

Linda Regan, MD FACEP
Program Director, Emergency Medicine Residency
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

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