the full name of the tooth.
Therefore, you would identify a specific second molar
in the following manner: right mandibular second
molar. Although there are four second molars in the
mouth, naming the quadrant (right mandibular) narrows
the field down to one specific second molar.
UNIVERSAL NUMBERING SYSTEM
The Universal Numbering System is a simplified
method of identifying teeth that is approved by the
American Dental Association and used by the armed
This method employs numbers with each
tooth designated by a separate number from 1 to 32.
Standard Dental Chart. When charting, you would
refer to a tooth by number rather than the name.
Instead of referring to the right maxillary third molar,
you would refer to tooth No. 1. Each permanent tooth
Figure 4-15 illustrates the numbering system used on a
has its own number.
The 20 primary teeth are identified on the dental
chart by the use of capital letters A to T. Lettering
starts with upper right second primary molar (tooth A,
located above the root of the maxillary second
premolar); goes across to the upper left second primary
molar (tooth J); down to the lower left second primary
molar (tooth K), and across to the lower right second
Please note that the letters of the
primary second and first molars appear above the roots
of the permanent teeth of the second and first
When using a dental form, remember that the right
and left sides are reversed.
The right side of the
patients mouth appears on the left side of the dental
chart; the left side of the patients mouth appears on the
right side. This arrangement is necessary because the
dental officer and the assistant see the sides reversed
when they look into a patients mouth. Full
instructions for using dental forms, will be provided in
Dental Technician, Volume 2, NAVEDTRA 12573,
chapter 2, Oral Examination.
SURFACES OF THE TEETH
Not only must the assistant be able to name and
locate a tooth, but must also be able to identify the
different types of tooth surfaces. Figure 4-16 shows a
number of different surfaces of the teeth.
Facial, Mesial, Distal, Lingual, and Incisal
The facial is the surface of a tooth that faces
toward the lips or cheeks. When there is a requirement
to be more specific, terms like labial and buccal are
used. The labial is the surface of an anterior tooth that
faces toward the lips. The buccal is the surface of a
posterior tooth that faces toward the cheek.
The mesial is the proximal surface closest to the
midline of the arch. The distal is the opposite of
mesial. The distal is the proximal surface oriented
away from the midline of the arch.
The lingual is the surface of an anterior or
posterior tooth that faces toward the tongue. Incisal
edges are narrow cutting edges found only in the
anterior teeth (incisors).
Incisors have one incisal
Figure 4-16.Surfaces of the teeth.