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Documentation and Numbering systems

andyrdhreviews October 26, 2020

Documentation and Numbering systems

For each tooth, you must record the dentition, arch, side, type , and class.

Universal Numbering System

  • First suggested by Parreidt in 1882 and officially adopted by the American Dental Association in 1975.
  • It is accepted by third-party providers in the United States and is endorsed by the American Society of Forensic Odontology.
  • Uses numbers 1 through 32 for the 32 teeth in the permanent dentition, starting with 1 for the maxillary right third molar, going around the arch to the maxillary left third molar as 16; dropping down on the same side, the left mandibular third molar becomes 17, and then the numbers increase around the lower arch to 32, which is the lower right third molar.

Universal Numbering System

  • Uses two digits for each permanent or primary tooth. The first digit denotes a specific quadrant (right or left), arch (maxillary or mandibular), and dentition (permanent or primary) as follows:


1 = Permanent dentition, maxillary, right quadrant

2 = Permanent dentition, maxillary, left quadrant

3 = Permanent dentition, mandibular, left quadrant

4 = Permanent dentition, mandibular, right quadrant


5 = Primary dentition, maxillary, right quadrant

6 = Primary dentition, maxillary, left quadrant

7 = Primary dentition, mandibular, left quadrant

8 = Primary dentition, mandibular, right quadrant

# 8 in the Universal System is # 11 in the FDI, #27 in Universal is #43 in FDI

Palmer Notation System

  • is used by many orthodontists and other practitioners especially in the UK
  • It utilizes four different bracket shapes to denote each of the four quadrants. The specific bracket surrounds a number (or letter), which denotes the specific tooth within that quadrant. The specific brackets are designed to represent each of the four quadrants of the dentition, as if you were facing the patient
  • ┘is upper right