If you’ve ever had your teeth numbering at the dentist, you may have been given a card with all of your tooth numbers written on it. You may have wondered why your dentist would number your teeth in the first place, but once you understand the reason behind it, you may never forget it again!
The Basics Of Dental Identification
For dental professionals, permanent dental identification is absolutely necessary. That’s because it allows them to quickly and accurately identify patients, avoid mix-ups, create emergency treatment plans for missing patients, and keep records for insurance purposes. The accepted method for identifying teeth today is numbering them starting from 1 on your upper right canine tooth moving counterclockwise around to tooth 1 of your lower left third molar. But if you’re not a dentist or a dental assistant, do you really need to know how teeth are numbered? Probably not; but there are several reasons why knowing about teeth numbered could come in handy. For example
Part 1 – How We Identify By Tooth Shape
In school, you probably learned that your teeth are numbered according to their shape. For example, a front tooth is assigned number 1 and a back tooth gets number 16. We call these numbers numbers but they aren’t really numbers at all – rather, they are shapes. We know them as triangular or square or curved and we refer to them as #3s and #4s when we draw them on paper for patients to view during consultation. This approach makes sense because teeth do come in different shapes, so how else would you describe one than by giving it a shape name?
Part 2 – Distinguishing Between Like Shapes
This may seem counterintuitive, but a key skill that dentists have to possess is being able to distinguish between like shapes. If a dentist can’t distinguish between #9 and #15, they could easily give you pain medications when they mean to give you something else. It might not be their fault – after all, we’re only human. However, it’s important that dentists are always aware of what kind of numeral they’re looking at in order to ensure their patients get exactly what they need every time!
Part 3 – Molar Anatomy
Knowing your teeth by number is very handy, especially if you’re a dentist. It’s also helpful if you want to describe what goes on with specific teeth in your mouth, such as after an oral exam or surgery. If you’re not a dental professional, however, knowing what numbers are associated with which teeth can be somewhat less practical. Still, it’s easy enough to figure out—most molars are pretty big and everyone has four of them in their jaw. So unless someone has experienced some serious tooth loss or orthodontic work (in which case they’re probably not reading blogs about oral health), chances are that any remaining tooth will have its number printed somewhere on it!
Conclusion On How To Tell One Tooth From Another
For all of your identification needs, take a look at that little code next to each of your teeth. Don’t get confused and think they are simple letters and numbers, though—they aren’t. Rather, they are codes meant to help dentists easily identify specific information about each tooth as well as what kind of issue you might be having with it. The first number refers to how many teeth are in each quadrant (left or right side),