How to Read a Numbered Tooth Chart

Most people take it for granted that they know how to read and understand the numbered tooth chart when they buy new dentures, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. If you aren’t sure how to correctly read a numbered tooth chart, you may end up picking the wrong size denture or having them not fit properly once you’ve paid for them. To ensure you pick the right dentures and have them fit your mouth perfectly, follow these steps when reading your new numbered tooth chart.

Why should I care about knowing my numbers?

That’s easy! Understanding your numbers (and being able to tell your orthodontist) is important because it allows you and your orthodontist (that’s us!) to understand how your teeth fit together, and what position they are in now. Having that basic understanding of how things fit together makes it much easier for us to help you move them into place—and get beautiful straight teeth that last. It also ensures that we can help you find treatment options that work within your budget, and can help keep costs down along every step of your journey.

We can help you learn how to read your tooth chart during your first visit with us. Just ask! We’re here to make sure all of our patients know exactly what’s going on at each stage of their treatment, so if you have any questions about number charts or anything else related to orthodontics, just ask one of our friendly team members for more information. You’ll be glad you did! And once again: why should I care? Because when it comes time for teeth-straightening treatment like braces or Invisalign®, having an idea about where all of your teeth sit right now will give us a starting point from which we can start making improvements on crooked smiles throughout Oregon and Washington state.


Step 1: Know your smile’s total surface area

To figure out how much your smile will cost, you’ll need to know its total surface area. This measurement is made up of four parts: incisors (front teeth), canines (lateral teeth), premolars (top teeth) and molars (bottom teeth). These parts are then measured in two ways: mesio-distally, from where they’re attached to your gums down to their tip; and bucco-lingually, from their frontmost point side-to-side. The biggest factor that determines how much orthodontic treatment costs is how many teeth there are in your mouth and what type of bracket system your dentist uses.

Because each tooth has different measurements, it’s hard to assign an average price for braces. Still, we’ve put together some general guidelines based on averages and anecdotal evidence from dentists we spoke with. For example, if you have 24 teeth with brackets that cost $300 per tooth on average (and most people do), your entire treatment could run around $7200 before any other fees or insurance discounts are applied. However, if you had fewer than 20 teeth with brackets at $500 per tooth on average—which would be considered an expensive case—your entire treatment could run closer to $10,000 before any other fees or insurance discounts are applied.

Step 2: Learn the numbering system

The numbering system is simple. The letter refers to one of 26 letters that are used in alphabetical order. The number refers to how many teeth there are on each arch. For example, 6/6 simply means there are six teeth on each arch, with A being tooth #1 and U being tooth #26. This allows for easy referral between your orthodontist and your hygienist when it comes out cleaning time. If you have any questions about which tooth is which, ask! Your dentist or dental assistant will be happy to help you understand.


Step 3: Once you have your number, what does it mean?

The number you see on your numbered tooth chart tells you how many teeth will be moved (either with braces or Invisalign). The numbers only reflect primary teeth. If you have an adult orthodontic treatment plan, or have had previous orthodontic treatment as a child, then some of your teeth may already be missing in which case their number isn’t going to move at all! After that’s been determined, what’s next? Let’s find out. First, let’s take a look at an example: A patient is currently missing two front teeth and has four remaining back teeth. This patient would receive a 6 on his/her numbered tooth chart because there are six total remaining teeth after moving.

The number 1 represents where we start with our first permanent molar behind one of our wisdom teeth. If we were treating two wisdom teeth, they would both start here; if three wisdom teeth, they would each start here; and so forth.


Using your #

Find an affordable orthodontist near me by using your #. Instead of looking for businesses based on popularity or word-of-mouth, you can use your social network. This will help you see unbiased reviews and information about each business, helping eliminate potential headaches down the road. You can also find great deals and special offers from businesses around. Town that want to cater their services towards customers like you! By narrowing down your search before visiting an office, you can be sure that what they offer is exactly what works for you! Before making any decisions, don’t forget to check out reviews left by patients—this will help determine if they are a good fit for you and your family!

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