The universal dental numbering scheme: teeth are sequentially numbered from 1-32, starting with the maxillary right third molar and preceding around the maxillary dental arch, to the left third molar.


Animals whose teeth are all of the same type, such as most non-mammalian vertebrates, are said to have homodont dentition.

Animals whose teeth differ morphologically are said to have heterodont dentition.

The dentition of animals with two successions of teeth referred to as deciduous or permanent is referred to as diphyodont, while the dentition of animals with only one set of teeth throughout life is monophyodont.

The dentition of animals in which the teeth are continuously discarded and replaced throughout life is termed polyphyodont.

The teeth in the upper and lower jaws in mammals operate together as a unit, so that the chewing surfaces of the teeth are so constructed that the upper and lower teeth are able to fit precisely together, cutting, crushing, grinding or shearing the food caught between.

There are four distinct types of teeth: incisor, canine, premolar, and the molar.

The incisors occupy the front of the tooth row in both upper and lower jaws, and function as cutting, slicing, or gnawing food into manageable pieces that fit into the mouth for further chewing.

The canines are immediately behind the incisors, and they are used to split open hard surfaced food.

Normal adult mouth has 32 teeth, which have erupted by about age 13:.

Incisors (8 total): The middlemost four teeth on the upper and lower jaws.

Canines (4 total): The pointed teeth just outside the incisors.

Premolars (8 total): Teeth between the canines and molars.

The premolars and molars are at the back of the mouth and these prepare pieces of food to be swallowed by grinding, shearing, or crushing.

Infants have a set of teeth that fall out and are replaced by adult teeth, and these are called deciduous teeth, primary teeth, baby teeth or milk teeth.

The formula for upper teeth indicates 2 incisors, 1 canine, 2 premolars, and 3 molars on one side of the mouth.

The order in which teeth emerge through the gums is known as the dental eruption sequence.

The later that tooth emergence begins, the earlier the anterior teeth appear in the sequence.

Wisdom teeth are congenitally absent in 20–23% of the human population.

The proportion of agenesis of wisdom teeth varies considerably among human populations.

Agenesis of wisdom teeth ranged from a near 0% incidence rate among Aboriginal Tasmanians to near 100% among Indigenous Mexicans.

The study of teeth, is an important area of study for archaeologists, as teeth are better preserved than bones.

Useful in tracking ancient populations’ movements, because there are differences in the shapes of incisors, the number of grooves on molars, presence/absence of wisdom teeth, and extra cusps on particular teeth.

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