One of our most important goals is to help patients understand their dental needs and guide them toward better oral health. We’ve posted a few resources that can help make that process clearer.

How Teeth are Numbered

How teeth are numbered

The universal system of numbering teeth is used so that dental records are consistent and accurate. From a patient’s perspective, the numbers start at the upper right and proceed as labeled. Note that the third molars – or wisdom teeth – are included in the chart (#1, #16, #17, #32). If you don’t have wisdom teeth, your first number will be molar #2, acknowledging the missing tooth.

Baby Tooth Chart

Baby tooth chart - Education page

Cavity Culprits

The five major causes of tooth decay

    1. Poor dental hygiene-Not brushing and flossing well and often enough will cause cavities and lead to bad breath, gum disease, and perhaps even tooth loss. Not having regular check-ups by your dentist increases the odds of having serious problems with your teeth.
    2. Sugary foods and drinks-Within 20 seconds of eating or drinking sugary things bacteria start feeding on the remnants of the meal or snack. The acids involved can erode enamel, deplete calcium and form plaque, all of which contribute to tooth decay.
    3. Acidic foods and drinks-Citrus fruits and juices and diet sodas are high in acid, which can directly erode enamel and make it easier for cavities to form. Even the relatively high acids in bread and fish pose a problem. Tip: Saliva naturally neutralizes acids so wait 30 minutes after eating or drinking to brush your teeth.
    4. Getting older-Decreased saliva, increased gum recession and worn fillings and crowns are apt to lead to more tooth decay in older people. Medications for conditions like high blood pressure may exacerbate the situation. Diligent brushing, flossing and regular dental check-ups are the best defenses.
    5. Genetics-Your genes determine how strong and straight your teeth become and how well they withstand decay and breakage. But nicotine and other environmental factors can undermine congenital resistance to cavities.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control, Scientific American

Dental Data

Oral Health Problems Are Costly

  • Each year, Americans make about 500 million visits to dentists.
  • In 2012, an estimated $111 billion was spent on dental services in the United States.
Source: American Dental Association

Detecting Oral Cancer

  • More than 36,500 new cases of cancer of the mouth and throat (oral cavity and pharynx) are diagnosed each year.
  • About 7,800 people die of these diseases.
  • The 5-year survival rate for these cancers is only about 50%.

Detection of cancer lesions in the early stages increases the survival rate for people with these cancers.

Source: The Centers for Disease Control

Percentage of Americans who visited a dentist in 2012 (latest data)

  • 82.3% Children ages 2-17
  • 61.8% Adults ages 65+
  • 61.6% Adults ages 18-64
Source: The Centers for Disease Control