Quantcast Location of the Teeth

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Normally, a human receives two sets of teeth during a lifetime. The first (deciduous or primary) set consists of 20 teeth ("baby" teeth). The second (permanent) set usually consists of 32 teeth. In each quadrant, there are eight permanent teeth: two incisors, one cuspid, two bicuspids, and three molars (fig. 4-14). The tooth positioned immediately to the side of the midline is the central incisor, so called because it occupies a central location in the arch. To the side of the central incisor is the lateral incisor. Next is the cuspid, then the two bicuspids (the first bicuspid, followed by the second bicuspid). The last teeth are three molars. After the second bicuspid comes the first molar, followed by the second molar, followed by the

Figure 4-14.\Names of the teeth in the right maxillary and mandibular quadrants; anterior and posterior teeth.

third molar or more commonly called the "wisdom tooth."

Another method of describing the location of teeth is to refer to them as anterior or posterior teeth (fig. 4-15). Anterior teeth are those located in the front of the mouth, the incisors, and the cuspids. Normally, these are the teeth that are visible when a person smiles. The posterior teeth are those located in the back of the mouth-the bicuspids and molars.


To avoid confusion, you must identify a tooth as completely as possible. Give its full name: Central incisor (not incisor), second molar (not molar), etc. But even the full name of a tooth does not provide adequate identification because several teeth have the same name. Complete tooth identification requires that you identify:

the quadrant in which the tooth appears, and

Figure 4-15.\ Standard dental chart; names and numbers of teeth.

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.


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