Teeth Have Numbers? Understanding Your Dentists’ Lingo

Have you ever been sitting in your dentist’ chair and hear the dentist tell his assistant to “watch 25” and wondered what they were talking about?

Well it just so happens that “watch 25” can be translated to one of your bottom teeth. Actually one of your lower right incisors.

Over the years several tooth numbering system have been developed for the sole purpose of helping your dentist identify teeth easier.

It makes much more sense to say “14, 18, and 26” than “the tooth by the bottom molar, the tooth in front, etc.”

In fact, the numbering system used by most general practioners today is called the Universal Numbering System.

Basically all teeth are accounted for – 32 for adults and 20 for children. And their positions correspond with a number.

The only difference is in children where the number is a letter instead.

This infographic shows the teeth and how they are numbered/lettered.

Tooth Numbering System – Children Tooth Numbering System – Adult

About Mark C. Marchbanks, D.D.S.

Dr. Mark Marchbanks has practiced dentistry in Arlington Texas since 1983. He enjoys caring for patients young and old. You can find Dr. Marchbanks on
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If it's been more than 6 months since your last teeth cleaning, give us a call today to schedule your check-up.