Anatomy – Tooth Nomenclature

Anatomy – Tooth Nomenclature

Dental Surgeons, Anthropologists, Archaeologists, and other Investigators use a system of shorthand for naming individual teeth.

There are full details of many of the systems of Dental Notation in  Clark DH (1992) Practical Forensic Odontology. Wright. London. [Chapter 8 Dental Record Interpretation p 101-110]

This chapter includes the notation of the  FDI (Fédération Dentaire Internationale).  This is the method of tooth identification used by Interpol and which is now used internationally in Forensic Odontology for example, in Disaster Victim Identification (DVI).

Since that time, the British Dental Journal has recommended an English Language system of notation. This is reproduced here.

Tooth Morphology Types (TMTs) used in the Assessment of Dental Age comprise all the teeth on the LEFT side.

Each Tooth is scored using eight Tooth Development Stages        see [8 Tooth Development Stages]

The Tooth Type descriptions are reduced to shorthand versions using either  the  Fédération   Dentaire   International system [FDI}, or the British Dental Journal system [ BrDJ]

Note: when this table is displayed, it may be necessary to alter the number of entries from 30 to 50.  There is a dropdown choice menu on the top left.

[FDI] Permanent Teeth [BrDJ]
21Upper Left Permanent Central IncisorUL1
22Upper Left Permanent Central IncisorUL2
23Upper Left Permanent CanineUL3
24Upper Left First PremolarUL4
25Upper Left Second PremolarUL5
26Upper Left First Permanent MolarUL6
27Upper Left Second Permanent MolarUL7
28Upper Left Third MolarUL8
31Lower Left Permanent Central IncisorLL1
32Lower Left Permanent Lateral IncisorLL2
33Lower Left Permanent CanineLL3
34Lower Left First PremolarLL4
35Lower Left Second PremolarLL5
36Lower Left First Permanent MolarLL6
37Lower Left Second Permanent MolarLL7
38Lower Left Third MolarLL8
18Upper Right Third MolarUR8
48Lower Right Third MolarLR8
[FDI] Primary Teeth[BrDJ]
61Upper Left Primary Central IncisorULA
62Upper Left Primary Lateral IncisorULB
63Upper Left Primary CanineULC
64Upper Left First Primary MolarULD
65Upper Left Second Primary MolarULE
71Lower Left Primary Central IncisorLLA
72Lower Left Primary Lateral IncisorLLB
73Lower Left Primary CanineLLC
74Lower Left Primary First MolarLLD
75Lower Left Primary Second MolarLLE


The British Dental Journal Notation has been included in the table in the right hand column as many scientific publications use the BrDentJ notation. It is easy to understand especially by non clinicians and lends itself to good communication in courts of law.
Teeth 18 [UR8]  and 48 [LR8] have been included as a special case because third molars are the teeth most commonly absent from tooth agenesis or have different development rates. For this reason the additional teeth are included to provide complete data for all four third permanent molars.
Note that the whole permanent dentition comprises 32 teeth and the primary dentition comprises 20 teeth and are detailed in the section on  Anatomy.  In DAA, by convention, it is only the teeth on the left side that are used. In the event of missing teeth the contralateral tooth may be used as a substitute.
A further consideration is that the standard anatomical approach of viewing the subject is used with the subject’s Right on the observer’s Left and the subject’s Left on the observer’s Right [ see section on Anatomy – Standard Viewing Orientation ].

For a humorous example of Tooth Notation see Elderton RJ. Keeping up-to-date with tooth notation. British Dental Journal.  1989; 166(2): 55-56.

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