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Dentists, in writing or speech, use several different dental notation systems for associating information with a specific tooth. The three most common systems are the FDI World Dental Federation notation, Universal numbering system (dental), and Palmer notation method. The FDI system is used worldwide, and the universal is used widely in the USA.
A committee of the American Dental Association (ADA) recommended the use of the Palmer notation method in 1947. Since this method required the use of symbols, its use was difficult on keyboards. As a result, the association officially supported the universal system in 1968. The World Health Organization and the Fédération Dentaire Internationale officially uses the two-digit numbering system of the FDI system.
FDI World Dental Federation notation 
The FDI World Dental Federation notation is widely used by dentists internationally to associate information with a specific tooth. Developed by the Fédération Dentaire Internationale (FDI), it is also known as ISO 3950 notation. The FDI system uses a two-digit numbering system in which the first number represents a tooth's quadrant and the second number represents the number of the tooth from the midline of the face. For permanent teeth, the upper right teeth begin with the number, "1". The upper left teeth begin with the number, "2". The lower left teeth begin with the number, "3". The lower right teeth begin with the number, "4". For primary teeth, the sequence of numbers goes 5, 6, 7, and 8 for the teeth in the upper right, upper left, lower left, and lower right respectively.
For example: retention of a deciduous molar tooth in the otherwise regular intact lower right jaw, position 5, would be noted as: 41, 42, 43, 44, 85, 46, 47, 48.
Beware of mixing up the teeth on the positions denoted as 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 in the Palmer and FDI systems.
adult upper right - 1x upper left - 2x 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 | 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 R --------------------------------------------------- L 48 47 46 45 44 43 42 41 | 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 lower right - 4x lower left - 3x deciduous upper right - 5x upper left - 6x 55 54 53 52 51 | 61 62 63 64 65 R --------------------------------- L 85 84 83 82 81 | 71 72 73 74 75 lower right - 8x lower left - 7x I - Incisor C - Canine P - premolar M - molar
Palmer notation method 
The Palmer notation is a system used by dentists to associate information with a specific tooth. Although supposedly superseded by the FDI World Dental Federation notation, it overwhelmingly continues to be the preferred method used by dental students and practitioners in the United Kingdom. It was originally termed the "Zsigmondy system" after the Hungarian dentist Adolf Zsigmondy who developed the idea in 1861, using a Zsigmondy cross to record quadrants of tooth positions.. Adult teeth were numbered 1 to 8, and the child primary dentition (also called deciduous, milk or baby teeth) were depicted with a quadrant grid using Roman numerals I, II, III, IV, V to number the teeth from the midline distally. Palmer changed this to A, B, C, D, E.
The Palmer notation consists of a symbol (┘└ ┐┌) designating in which quadrant the tooth is found and a number indicating the position from the midline. Adult teeth are numbered 1 to 8, with deciduous (baby) teeth indicated by a letter A to E. Hence the left and right maxillary central incisor would have the same number, "1", but the right one would have the symbol, "┘", underneath it, while the left one would have, "└".
Universal numbering system 
The Universal numbering system is a dental notation system for associating information to a specific tooth, and is commonly used in the United States. The uppercase letters A through T are used for primary teeth and the numbers 1 - 32 are used for permanent teeth. The tooth designated "1" is the right maxillary third molar and the count continues along the upper teeth to the left side. Then the count begins at the left mandibular third molar, designated number 17, and continues along the bottom teeth to the right side. Each tooth has a unique number or letter, allowing for easier use on keyboards.
- ISO 3950:2009 Dentistry — Designation system for teeth and areas of the oral cavity
- Blinkhorn A, Choi C, Paget H (1998). "An investigation into the use of the FDI tooth notation system by dental schools in the UK.". Eur J Dent Educ 2 (1): 39–41. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0579.1998.tb00034.x. PMID 9588962.
- Huszár G (1989). "[The role of the life and works of Adolf Zsigmondy and Ottó Zsigmondy in the history of dentistry][Article in Hungarian]". Fogorv Sz 82 (12): 357–63. PMID 2689240.