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Teeth names and notations

Learning Objectives

After going through this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Learn the anatomical names of each tooth both in permanent and deciduous dentition.
  2. Identify the notations used to reference each tooth.
  3. Discover the importance of knowing said notations.

Browse atlas

If you think that knowing the name of teeth and their notations is exclusive to dentists, think again! Although they are mostly used by dental professionals, they are also referenced by many professionals of several disciplines around the globe. Teeth notations are used to denote and specify information linked with a particular tooth. This allows for easy identification, communication and record keeping in an efficient yet precise manner. The four most common systems are the Universal numbering system, FDI/ISO 3950 System, Zsigmondy-Palmer notation (but more often referred to as only Palmer) and alphanumeric notation.

Each notation allows the ability to differentiate between deciduous and permanent dentitions:

  • Deciduous or primary dentition: consists of 20 teeth, 10 teeth in each arch (maxillary/superior and mandibular/ inferior), containing 2 central incisors, 2 lateral incisors, 2 canines and 4 molars.
  • Permanent dentition: consists of 32 teeth, 16 teeth in each arch, containing 2 central incisors, 2 lateral incisors, 2 canines, 4 premolars and 6 molars.

It’s important to note that every notation starts in the upper right from the patient’s point of view. To learn more about the names and notations used for each tooth, review the following image gallery where each notation is explained in depth:

To learn about the specific name and notation of each tooth, take a look at the following gallery:

Take a quiz

Now that you’re well versed regarding the names and notations associated with teeth, go ahead and solidify your knowledge by taking our quiz.

Feel like testing your overall knowledge on the anatomy of the teeth? Try our customizable quiz to focus on them.


Key points about the names and notations of teeth
Teeth names Quadrants: Maxillary right, maxillary left, mandibular left, mandibular right
Permanent dentition:
Central incisor, lateral incisor, canine, first premolar, second premolar, first molar, second molar, third molar
Deciduous dentition: 
Central incisor, lateral incisor, canine, first molar, second molar
Universal Numbering System Permanent dentition: Numbers 1 - 32. Maxillary right third molar → mandibular right third molar.
Deciduous dentition:
Letters A - T. Maxillary right second molar → mandibular right second molar
FDI/ISO 3950 System Permanent dentition:
Upper right (quadrant #1) → teeth 11 - 18
Upper left (quadrant #2) → teeth: 21 - 28
Lower left (quadrant #3) → teeth 31 - 28
Lower right (quadrant #4) → teeth: 41 - 48
Deciduous dentition:

Upper right (quadrant #5) → teeth: 51 - 55
Upper left (quadrant #6) → teeth: 61 - 65
Lower left (quadrant #7) → teeth: 71 -75
Lower right (quadrant #8) → teeth: 81 - 85
Palmer Notation Method Permanent dentition:
Upper right: 1-8⏌
Upper left: ⎿1-8
Lower left: ⎾1-8
Lower right: 1-8 ⏋
Deciduous dentition:

Upper right: ⏌A-E
Upper left: ⎿ A-E
Lower left: ⎾ A-E
Lower right: ⏋A-E
Alphanumeric Notation Permanent dentition:
Upper right (quadrant #1) → teeth UR1-8
Upper left (quadrant #2) → teeth UL1-8
Lower left (quadrant #3) → teeth LL1-8
Lower right (quadrant #4) → teeth LR1-8
Deciduous dentition:

Upper right (quadrant #5) → teeth URA-E
Upper left (quadrant #6) → teeth ULA-E
Lower left (quadrant #7) → teeth LLA-E
Lower right (quadrant #8) → teeth LRA-E

Well done!

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