Numbering Your Teeth: A Dental Chart Guide

If you have ever been to the dentist, you’ve probably noticed they use something called the tooth number chart system to describe teeth and figure out where problems are in your mouth. This can be confusing if you don’t know what they mean, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Here, we break down everything about the tooth numbering system and how it works so you can be confident in dental visits and speak intelligently with your dentist or hygienist.

What Is A Dental Chart?

A dental chart is a visual diagram, which shows each tooth in your mouth. They are often color-coded and include all of your teeth, including those that are yet to erupt through your gums. Many dentists will print out a dental chart and use it when they’re examining patients or when they’re educating their patients about common oral health procedures and issues. But, if you have one of these charts handy at home, you can use it as a guide for brushing and flossing your teeth every day. Here’s how to read a dental chart. Let’s say the chart has five columns across and four rows down. The top row would be labeled 1. The bottom row would be labeled 5. The column on the left side of the chart is labeled teeth. So, 1 corresponds with tooth number chart 1; 2 corresponds with tooth number 2; 3 corresponds with tooth number 3; 4 corresponds with tooth number chart 4; 5 corresponds with tooth number 5. And so on! It’s really quite simple!

What Does It Look Like?

Imagine a standard ruler with teeth on it, like you would find in most schools and offices. Place your teeth along that ruler to determine your dental number. Start by pointing your front teeth at 12 o’clock. Next, point your bottom teeth at 6 o’clock and move clockwise until you reach each subsequent tooth. For example, if you have 20 total teeth (top and bottom), they will be numbered as follows: 12, 9, 4, 11 (the numbers correspond to their placement around a clock). If you’re missing any teeth or if there are any other issues with your smile, don’t panic!

What’s The Main Purpose Of A Dental Chart?

They’re great for helping both you and your dentist pinpoint which tooth is which. Once you understand how to read a dental chart, it’s easier to make sure that your dentist knows what he or she is talking about when referring to specific teeth. And if you have an emergency situation, having a dental chart in your pocket can help speed up treatment. The more prepared you are, the better off you are—and these charts will help get you there! Just refer to this handy guide for a rundown of some of the most important things on dental charts.

The first line from one side of your mouth would be 1-1-1, then 1-2-1 and so on.

To determine the line from the other side of your mouth, add an additional 0 to whichever line number starts with 1. So on one side of your mouth you would be reading as 11, but on the other side it would be 101.

Dentists start numbering at 10 because they’re looking at them upside down, as in a mirror image!

What Are Types Of Tooth Numbering Charts?

There are three main types of tooth numbering charts. There are tooth-numbering charts that number upper teeth only, lower teeth only and both upper and lower teeth. For children, make sure you get a chart for each individual set of teeth (the kids will go through quite a few sets before they’re adults). Some dentists recommend getting a chart with two rows.

How Do You Use A Dental Chart Correctly?

When a dentist or orthodontist asks you to number your teeth, it’s actually pretty simple. When you’re standing in front of a mirror, take a good look at each tooth and decide which tooth is one. If one side of your mouth has teeth numbered from 1-28 (two rows), then your odd-numbered tooth chart are on that side; odd-numbered teeth on both sides will be labeled with numbers 3, 7, 11, etc. Once you decide which side of your mouth is even numbered and odd numbered—just follow along! Count up by 2 for each even number until you get to 28.

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