Tooth-Coding Systems in the Clinical Dental Setting

Main Article Content

Edward F. Harris


Clinical dentists have developed a variety of tooth-coding systems for efficiently recording a patient’s dental status. The coding systems may not be self-evident to dental anthropologists lacking dental training. The purpose of this note is to review the tooth designation systems currently in common use. The nature of the charting systems and brief historical origins of three systems are reviewed, namely (1) the Zsigmondy-Palmer system that is becoming largely of historical interest, (2) the Universal system that is common in the United States, and (3) the FDI two-digit system that has been adapted throughout the rest of the world. Use of these three systems is described for the permanent and primary dentitions.