You’ve probably seen this chart before, but you may not know what it means. Perhaps someone told you to get an 8 on 4 – but what does that mean? Does that mean that you need to get an 8 with a flossing motion at 4 o’clock? As it turns out, this chart allows your dentist to use numbers to communicate specific information about your teeth numbering with other professionals in the dental field, so not every dentist uses this exact chart.
What are Dental Chart Numbers?
Every tooth has its own set of numbers on it, and those numbers show you where in your mouth that tooth is. For example, let’s take teeth 11-13. Those are molars in your lower jaw. If you were looking at a tooth chart for that region, you’d see something like 11-12-13. That means tooth #11 is in front of tooth #12 which is in front of tooth #13. Now, if we look at teeth 1-2 and 3-4, they’re incisors (the ones right next to your canines). And if we look at another part of our chart, we’d see 1-2 as well as 3-4. That means they’re both incisors but their position changes based on what part of your mouth they’re in.
Decoding Dental Chart Numbers
A lot of people don’t understand what dental numbers mean or, more specifically, they’re unaware of just how specific these codes can be. That’s why here at SmilesNYC we decided to do some decoding for you. You’ll find that each number on your tooth chart stands for something and if you have even an inkling of what those things are, it can mean big time savings for you! For example, let’s say your regular dentist says you need multiple root canals—the exact amount may surprise you! Here are some quick and dirty tips on deciphering those numbers – 0 – There is no decay present in any of your teeth. (Wow!)
– 1 – Your tooth has minor decay; a small filling should fix it right up.
– 2 – Your tooth has moderate decay; usually requires a crown to repair properly.
– 3 – Your tooth has severe decay; could require two crowns or major reconstruction work depending on its location in your mouth.
The Difference Between Dental Radiographs and Dental X-Rays
Radiographs are images produced by exposing X-ray film or digital detector arrays to penetrating radiation. The most common type of radiograph taken is an intraoral, or dental radiograph, which shows tooth and bone structure and is used to diagnose oral diseases such as cavities, gum disease and tooth fractures. While x-rays are also used in dentistry, they’re more frequently employed in advanced imaging procedures that require increased image clarity. For example, lower-quality x-rays can be used to screen patients for oral cancer but more specific types of imaging must be used for diagnosis or treatment planning.
What if I Don’t Know My Dental Chart Number or Tooth Number?
There are several ways you can find out your current tooth numbers if you do not already know them. The easiest way is to schedule an appointment with your dentist and he or she will provide you with your number. If that is not possible, then there are two other ways you can find it yourself by examining your teeth. You need to look at your teeth from above, like when you brush your teeth in front of a mirror.
Look for where your tooth meets your gum line and count up from there on each side of each tooth. Once you have done that, add all of those numbers together and subtract one (the total should be even). This is what most people call their dental chart number. Your second option would be to go back to where you had x-rays taken previously (like at another dentist’s office) and get those records so that they can tell you what number was used for each x-ray image. Then just count up from there on each side of each tooth as described above.