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Understanding tooth numbers and tooth names

Have you recently come back from your dentist and been given your treatment plan and upon reading feel totally confused? what are all these numbers? Well you are not the only one and if you have reached out to a dental clinic in another country to compare your treatment plans you may have possibly received a treatment plan back with completely different tooth numbers that are different to your home dentist!

The reason for this is that there are 3 tooth numbering systems commonly used by dentists around the world and depending on their professional bodies this system may differ from the one you have been given, now these are obviously the same teeth but just numbered differently.

So to make this a little more easier for you to understand and especially if looking to get dental treatments in Cancun, we have placed a teeth numbering chart showing the 3 main tooth numbering systems so you can better decipher the plan and teeth.

ADA - Universal - United States

FDI - Canada - Europe

PALMER - Used by some Orthodontists, Pedontists, Oral Surgeons

We all know the names of teeth when explaining to our dentists of our dental issues like “I have a pain in my back tooth or Molar” but which Molar is it the first Molar, second molar or third molar and with tooth numbers dentists are able to note exactly which tooth it is.

The same as if the dentist says you need a dental filling on the incisor tooth, which one? The central , lateral ?


  • Incisors are shaped like small chisels. They have sharp edges that help you bite into food.

  • Canines-Canines have a sharp, pointy surface for tearing food.

  • Premolars -Premolars are bigger than canines and incisors. They have a flat surface with ridges for crushing and grinding food into smaller pieces to make it easier to swallow.

  • Molars -are your biggest and strongest teeth, The large surface area of your molars helps them grind up food.

  • Wisdom teeth - Vestigial teeth


For American Dental Tourists seeking a treatment plan will have the "universal numbering system", it is also called the "American system" as it is only used in the United States. The uppercase letters A through T are used for primary teeth or as we may better know them as (baby teeth or milk teeth) and the numbers 1 - 32 are used for permanent teeth.


For our Canadian Dental Tourists seeking a treatment plan in Cancun will commonly have the plan with the

FÉDÉRATION DENTAIRE INTERNATIONALE SYSTEM or the FDI (in color red) this is the most commonly used system used in Quebec, Canada and in most European countries.

You can imagine the potential confusion if only the tooth numbers were used to communicate between dentists who use different systems. This is why a dental diagram illustrating which teeth we refer to is used so both dentist and patient are in agreement and understand.

You may also come across notes on your dental treatment that may seem even more confusing as each tooth has several surfaces these are called

Labial: surface on the side of the lips of the anterior teeth (incisors and canines).

Buccal: surface on the side of the cheeks of the posterior teeth (premolars and molars)

Lingual: surface on the side of the tongue of every tooth (anterior and posterior).

Occlusal: masticating surface of the posterior teeth.

Incisive: sharp edge of the incisors.

Mésial: interproximal surface (between the adjacent teeth)

located nearest to the midline.

Distal: interproximal surface (between the adjacent teeth) located farthest from the midline.

A dental facilitator is a trained professional who assists patients in navigating the dental care system. They can provide patients with information about dental procedures, insurance coverage, and help them find a dentist that meets their needs. Dental facilitators may also help patients with appointment scheduling and follow-up care. In some cases, dental facilitators may work directly with dentists to coordinate patient care and ensure that patients receive the appropriate treatment. The role of a dental facilitator is to make the dental care experience as easy and stress-free as possible for patients.

A dental facilitator Like Dental Destinations Cancun can provide many benefits to patients seeking dental care. Here are some reasons why you should consider using a dental facilitator like us:

  1. Time-saving: A dental facilitator can help you save time by scheduling your appointments, coordinating with the dental office, and handling all administrative tasks.

  2. Cost-saving: Dental facilitators can help you find the best deals on dental procedures and services, negotiate prices with dental providers, and help you understand your dental insurance benefits.

  3. Access to specialized care: Dental facilitators can help you find dental specialists, such as orthodontists, endodontists, or oral surgeons, that may be difficult to find on your own.

  4. Reduced stress: A dental facilitator can take the stress out of finding the right dentist or dental specialist, handling paperwork, and scheduling appointments.

  5. Improved communication: Dental facilitators can act as a liaison between you and your dental provider, ensuring that all your questions are answered and your concerns are addressed.

We hope this helps you when looking at your dental treatment plan and tooth chart, and if you have any doubts and would like a breakdown we are here to help.

Did you know dentistry in Cancun can be up to 60% less than the United States and Canada.

If you want to know more about a Dental Vacation to Cancun - What Dental Tourism to Mexico can do for you and why Cancun is the Top dental destination for American and Canadians seeking High Quality, Affordable dentistry and how we can arrange this for you the get in touch.

No Obligation

No sales

Absolutely no rushing or pushing

Never requests for upfront payments or charges

Always Valuable advice Information and  assistance to ensure you have the very best Dental Vacation and experience here in Cancun.



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