Dental problems

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Dental Numbering

Classic dental numbering.
  • Adult (permanent) teeth identified by numbers
    • From the midline to the back of the mouth on each side, there is a central incisor, a lateral incisor, a canine, two premolars (bicuspids), and three molars
  • Children (non-permanent) teeth identified by letters
  • Common landmarks:
    • 1: Right upper wisdom
    • 8 & 9: Upper incisors
    • 16: Left upper wisdom
    • 17: Left lower wisdom
    • 24 & 25: Lower incisors
    • 32: Right lower wisdom
Diagram of the tooth displaying the enamel, dentin, and pulp
Anatomy of the periodontium. The crown of the tooth is covered by enamel (A). Dentin (B). The root of the tooth is covered by cementum. C, alveolar bone. D, subepithelial connective tissue. E, oral epithelium. F, free gingival margin. G, gingival sulcus. H, principal gingival fibers. I, alveolar crest fibers of the periodontal ligament (PDL). J, horizontal fibers of the PDL. K, oblique fibers of the PDL.

Tooth descriptors

  • Maxillary teeth: upper row
  • Mandibular teeth: lower row
  • Facial: Portion of tooth seen when the mouth is open/smiles. Applicable to all teeth
    • Labial: facial surface of the incisors and canines
    • Buccal: facial surface of the premolars and molars
  • Oral: Portion of tooth that faces the tongue or palate. Applies to all teeth
    • Lingual: Toward the tongue; the oral surface of the mandibular teeth
    • Palatal: Toward the palate; the oral surface of the maxillary teeth
  • Apical: Toward the tip of the root of the tooth
  • Coronal: Toward the crown or the biting surface of the tooth
    • Occlusal: Biting or chewing surface of the premolars and molars
    • Incisal: Biting or chewing surface of the incisors and canines
  • Approximal/interproximal: contacting surfaces between two adjacent teeth
    • Mesial: interproximal surface facing anteriorly or closest to the midline
    • Distal: interproximal surface facing posteriorly or away from the midline [1]

Clinical Features

Differential Diagnosis

Dentoalveolar Injuries

Odontogenic Infections


Maxillofacial Trauma

Facial Swelling


Dental Anesthesia



See Also

External Links


  1. Benko K. Emergency Dental Procedures. In: Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2014.