Teeth Numbering Chart: 4 Quadrants & Important Teeth Names

Last Updated on: 6th June 2024, 03:31 pm

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Written by

Q.F. Nayibe Cubillos Morales


Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Gustavo Assatourians D.D.S

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In the teeth numbering chart, the dentist mentions the location and position of the the tooth according to the quadrant during his inspection and assessment.

“Distal occlusion in piece 23” and “resin for change in piece 48” are phrases frequently heard when consulting the dentist to find out the condition of your oral health. This does not refer to the person having 48 teeth. The number of permanent teeth in an adult is 32. The primary (temporary) denture set has 20 teeth.


What does the Teeth Numbering Chart Show?

Dental numbering, using a table or dental chart, records information on specific teeth.

The numbering system makes it possible to identify and classify the diagnosis or condition of a dental piece, while at the same time, it favors effective communication between oral health professionals to facilitate the follow-up of the required treatment.

Worldwide, there are several tooth numbering systems:


 Universal numbering system.

 Numbering of the FDI

 System Victor Haderup

 System Woelfel

 System MICAP system

Of the systems mentioned, the Zsigmondy-Palmer is the oldest as it appeared in 1861, It is also known as Palmer’s notation.

Much of these dental numbering systems focus on permanent teeth. For the purpose of understanding the primary (milk) dentition, there is also dental numbering specifically for primary teeth.


The Universal Numbering System

In 1882, the German Julius Parreidt proposed a universal numbering system that designates primary and permanent teeth differently. This is the system that has been accepted by the American Dental Association (ADA) since 1968 and is frequently used by dentists in the United States. It is also known as the American system.

teeth numbering chart

Although it is the most frequently used system, it presents a drawback: it does not classify supernumerary teeth, i.e., those in addition to the normal number of teeth, which is a frequent case in primary dentition.

But it also has an advantage: it follows a sequence of names, which makes it easy to locate the corresponding teeth.


Universal Numbering System and Names of Permanent Teeth 

Teeth are numbered in order from 1 to 32, starting from the posterior area of the first (upper right) quadrant. The third molar (wisdom tooth or wisdom tooth) is number 1 in the sequence. The left third molar (facing wisdom tooth) is piece number 16. In other words, the upper jaw has 16 pieces, 8 in each quadrant.

The lower jaw teeth follow a similar nomenclature. That is, the lower left third molar is number 17, and the opposite piece (lower right molar) is number 32.


The FDI system

The International Dental Federation (FDI) notation was introduced in 1970 and is the system used by the World Health Organization and most countries around the world except the United States.
Of note, the FDI is an independent worldwide organization representing dentists affiliated with various associations in more than 100 countries.

The FDI system can be a part of the documentation and classification for malocclusion treatment, particularly in relation to dental nomenclature and coding for procedures related to malocclusion.


The Maxillary Arches and Permanent Teeth

To correctly understand and interpret the tooth numbering system, it is essential to understand the dental quadrants.

Oral health professionals divide the dental system into four quadrants:

 Quadrant 1: Upper right arch

 Quadrant 2: Upper left arch

 Quadrant 3: Lower left arch

 Quadrant 4: Lower right arch

The distribution by quadrants allows a quick identification of the corresponding dental piece. In the permanent dentition, each of the quadrants has 8 pieces, for a total of 32 teeth.

The FDI system uses two numbers to identify the dental piece: the first digit indicates the quadrant and the second corresponds to its position in the quadrant, that is, the second number goes from 1 to 8 for the corresponding quadrant.

So, tooth 28 refers to piece number 8 of quadrant 2; in other words, the wisdom tooth is located in the upper left jaw. Piece 43 is in the lower right jaw and is one of the canine teeth.


The Nomenclature for Milk Teeth

In primary teeth, each quadrant has 5 pieces, for a total of 20 teeth. In this case, the second digit only goes from 1 to 5, and the correspondence for the second digit is:

 1 central

 2 lateral incisor

 3 canine

 4 first molar

 5 second molar


What is Teeth Numbering Chart for?

dental model of teeth

The dental nomenclature, or the table of numbers, allows the dentist to record the condition of a certain dental piece. Later, it will serve as a guide for the corresponding treatment. It is a fundamental tool for the dentist that minimizes mistakes in a diagnosis and subsequent procedure.

An example of this is dental fillings, which are typically recorded on teeth numbering charts as part of a patient’s dental records. This notation helps the dentist and other dental professionals easily identify which teeth have fillings, the type of filling material used, and other relevant details about the dental restoration.

On your next visit to the dentist, you will now have the opportunity to better understand the assessment of your oral health and the corresponding diagnosis.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a tooth numbering chart?

A tooth numbering chart is a system used to record information about specific teeth. It helps identify and classify the condition of each tooth, facilitating communication among dental professionals and aiding in treatment planning.

An adult has 32 permanent teeth, while a child has 20 primary (temporary) teeth.

Teeth are numbered according to their position and quadrant in the mouth. Different systems, like the Universal Numbering System and the FDI System, are used to assign numbers to each tooth for easy identification.

The Universal Numbering System, accepted by the American Dental Association, numbers permanent teeth from 1 to 32 starting from the upper right third molar to the lower right third molar. It provides an easy-to-follow sequence for identifying each tooth.

The FDI System, used by the World Health Organization, divides the mouth into four quadrants and uses a two-digit number to identify each tooth. The first digit represents the quadrant, and the second digit indicates the tooth’s position within that quadrant.



1. ILERNA Official Vocational Training Center (2019). Dental nomenclature: the International Code (FDI). https://www.ilerna.es/blog/aprende-con-ilerna-online/sanidad/codigo-internacional-dientes-fdi/#A_la_practica_ejemplos_de_nomenclatura_de_dientes

2. Universal Numbering System. Wikipedia. Information updated in 2022. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Numbering_System

3. FDI World Dental Federation notation. Wikipedia. Information updated in 2022. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FDI_World_Dental_Federation_notation

4. Rodríguez, F. J / Cerviño, S (2009). Multiple Distomolar Supernumerary Teeth Advances in Odontostomatology, Volume 25 – No. 6. https://scielo.isciii.es/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0213-12852009000600003

5. Sahi, Akshima (2019). Universal Numbering System for Teeth. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Universal-Numbering-System-for-Teeth.aspx

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