When you are getting a checkup, you will hear your Antioch, CA dentist say a bunch of odd words and numbers to their assistant, who records what they are saying. These words and numbers refer to which teeth they are looking at, what state it is in, and what the problem is with it. essentially, it is just a faster way to organize work on teeth.
Numbering System Broken Down
First, your dentist numbers your teeth based off of an international numbering system called the FDI world dental federation notation. This numbering system is easy for schools to teach their future dentists how to number teeth so that it is all universal. It is also good for dentists to work together and review charts of new patients. The numbering system starts with which quadrant the number corresponds to. It will always start with the upper right jaw. Now, upper right means the dentists right, not the patients, so it will be the patients left, dentists right. The number given to a tooth will have two numbers, the first is the quadrant the tooth is in, and the second is for which tooth it is. So, the upper right wisdom tooth is in the number 1 quadrant, and is the tooth in the column that corresponds the number 1. The upper right wisdom tooth has the number 11. The system starts at the first quadrant, the upper right, goes to the left along the upper jaw, then drops down to the left lower jaw, and goes back to the right, counting all teeth along the way. Keep in mind, that if your wisdom teeth are removed, your back molars do not become the first teeth in the numbering system, your molars keep their numbers regardless of how many teeth are in front or behind it in the system.
What About Problems?
If you hear your dentist talking about cavities or other problems, chances are they will call out the number corresponding to the tooth, and then what they see afterwards. They will use their exploratory dental tools to look for certain things on each tooth. If they see something on tooth 23, they will let the assistant know to mark that on the chart.
Tooth numbering is actually pretty simple. Do a quick internet search so you can see a graphic of how the system numbers the teeth, if you need the visual representation of the explanation.