Dental Abbreviations

Dental codes contain letters that refer to different parts or surfaces of the tooth. The “M’ refers to mesial, “D” for distal, which is the front or back surface of the tooth.  The “O” indicates occlusal, which is the uppermost or bite surface of a molar or premolar. The “I” refers to incisal, which is bite edge of the front teeth (incisors and canines).

Another frequently used code is “B”, which refers to the buccal or surface of the tooth facing the cheek. Patients may also hear “L”, which is the surface of the tooth facing the tongue. For example, if “3MOD” is mentioned, this indicates a cavity has been detected on the upper right first molar, encompassing the front, top, and back parts of the tooth.

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