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June 23, 2017

Step In Our Boots

Feature, Stories, Useful Tips

You may hear dentists throwing a few numbers and phrases around as your mouth is being examined.  Wouldn’t you like to know what they’re saying about your teeth? Let’s step in the boots of a dentistry professional and learn some commonly used terms, so that next time you go for an appointment, you’ll have a better idea of what’s happening inside your mouth.

Numbering Your Gums – The difference a millimeter can make
You’ll want to be aware if your dentist starts talking about the millimeter of your gums. By millimeter, they’ll mean the gap measurement between the pocket of the gum and your nearby tooth. This varies as well – each of your teeth will receive a separate number for its gum gap. So next time you find yourself laying in that chair, you’ll want to hear smaller numbers, between 1 and 3 millimeter. A smaller gap between the tooth and gum indicates a healthy mouth. A larger number, which is anything above 3 millimeter, may mean you have gum issues, which is often due to patients waiting long periods of time in between cleanings.

The Tooth Code
As your dentist is conversing with their colleagues, you may hear them announcing a series of letters and numbers, such as 3 MOD, or 5 DO. Don’t worry, the language isn’t secret – the numbers actually represent specific teeth, and the letters describe the areas of those teeth. The numbering system begins at your first tooth, which is the upper-right third molar, and ends at tooth number 32, which is the lower-right third molar. Concerning the letters, each is code for the anatomical names of your tooth. For example, “D” stands for distal, which is the front or back part of the tooth, and B stands for buccal, which is the surface of the tooth towards the cheek.
Quadrants
Just to clear up any confusion, this isn’t a math question. The next time a dentist is looking at your teeth, and murmurs something to do with quadrants, they’re actually referring to the four sections of your mouth. The upper portions of your mouth are the first two quadrants, while the lower portions are the third and fourth quadrants. Keep in mind that the dentist is also reading your quadrants like a clock, starting from the top-left, and moving clockwise through quadrants 2, 3, and 4.
Now that you’re in the loop, you may impress your dentist during your next checkup.
📷 @26_merton_road

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