Decoding Dental Jargon

Most dental offices may throw a number of unfamiliar and intimidating terms at you. After a teeth cleaning or examination, jargon you may hear can include 3MOD, 5DO, 13MFD, and more. This doesn’t mean your dentist or hygienist is reading off an algebra textbook, but are using shortened abbreviations for dental terms.

The numbers represent teeth according to their condition. This includes whether they are affected by cavities or other problems. Tooth number one refers to the upper right third molar or wisdom tooth, which is located the farthest back in the mouth.  Tooth number sixteen is the upper left third molar.

Tooth number seventeen refers to the lower left third molar, and number thirty two indicates the lower right third molar. Teeth right and nine classifies the upper front teeth, left and right central incisors, Finally, teeth number twenty-four and twenty-five identify the lower front teeth, lower left and right central incisors.

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