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Your Teeth

Adults have 32 teeth in their mouths.  The teeth are counted by starting on the upper right at the wisdom tooth as #1 and going around to the far left as #16, then dropping down to the bottom left as #17 and going around to the far right as #32.  The mouth is divided up into 4 sections called quadrants: upper right, upper left, lower right, and lower left.  The teeth are separated into the back (posteriors) consisting of molars and pre-molars (or bicuspids), and the front (anteriors) consisting of cuspids (or canines) and incisors.


Each tooth has 5 tooth surfaces.  Depending on whether the tooth is in the front or back, the surfaces are as follows: mesial, distal, lingual, facial or buccal, and incisal or occlusal.  The fee for fillings is determined by how many surfaces of the tooth are involved.


Children’s teeth are lettered (A through T) rather than numbered.  There are 20 by approximately 2 years of age.  They are counted by starting with the upper right as A, over to the upper left ending with J, dropping down to the lower left with K and back over to the right ending with T.  Baby teeth (primary or deciduous teeth) are very important and should not be overlooked.  They hold positions for the developing adult teeth so those teeth come in straight.  In addition, if not taken care of quickly, an infected baby tooth can result in decaying the underlying permanent (adult) tooth.  It is important that a child has good experiences at the dental office so they will continue receiving dental care as an adult.  A child’s first dental appointment can be as young as one year old.  Check with our dentists to see what would be appropriate for your child.