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How does a dentist use a teeth chart?

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Quick Answer

Dentists use teeth charts most often for children’s teeth when they start coming in, says Colgate. The dentist is able to gradually track the teeth as they start to develop, tracking the health of teeth and gums, as well as the placement of the teeth.

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When dentists use teeth charts, they are able to identify the problem areas when the baby teeth start falling out and the adult teeth begin erupting, notes Colgate. The dentist can also compare the current teeth chart to previous charts to see if the permanent teeth coming in are developing properly, based on the location. Looking at the differences is very helpful, since the size and shape of teeth can vary between each person.

Not only is the dentist tracking the teeth with the chart to see if orthodontic treatment is needed to adjust the placement of teeth, he is also ensuring placement for proper speaking and smiling, according to Colgate. It can also be helpful to look for ways to improve teeth placement for the shape and form of the patient’s face.

The teeth chart uses a numbering system, also called the universal numbering system, explains Colgate. This was originally introduced by the ADA as a way to chart the teeth. The system starts counting the teeth at the upper row, beginning with the upper right side of the mouth.

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