Alphanumeric system of dental notation

Last revised by Francis Deng on 23 Jan 2020

The alphanumeric system of dental notation is a modification of Palmer notation for numbering and naming teeth made for electronic transcription. Its use is primarily in the United Kingdom 1,3,4.

First, the jaws are divided into four quadrants 1-5. Each quadrant is denoted by their English initialism for upper (U) or lower (L) jaw and the patient's right (R) or left (L) side:

  • right upper (maxillary) quadrant = UR
  • left upper (maxillary) quadrant = UL
  • left lower (mandibular) quadrant = LL
  • right lower (mandibular) quadrant = LR

As in the Palmer notation and FDI World Dental Federation notation systems, individual teeth within each quadrant of the dental arches are then numbered from mesial to distal:

  • central incisor = 1
  • lateral incisor = 2
  • canine/cuspid = 3
  • 1st premolar/bicuspid = 4
  • 2nd premolar/bicuspid = 5
  • 1st molar = 6
  • 2nd molar = 7
  • 3rd molar = 8

The quadrant designation is the prefix, followed by the individual tooth number. Therefore, the notation UR1 indicates the permanent right upper central incisor.

As in the Palmer notation, the deciduous teeth are lettered A through E from mesial to distal in each quadrant 5:

  • central incisor = A
  • lateral incisor = B
  • canine = C
  • 1st molar = D
  • 2nd molar = E

The prefix for each quadrant is as in the permanent teeth.

Therefore, the notation LRB indicates the primary right lower lateral incisor.

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