Understanding Your Teeth

Guide to Dental Charts

Ever sat in a dental examination and wondered just what all those numbers mean?

Number systems are used to identify which tooth is which, so that accurate records can be made and maintained.  There are at least 56 types of tooth numbering systems which are used by dentists all over the world.

The 3 main methods are explained below – in the UK Dentists tend to use the “Palmer System” first and foremost:

  1. Palmer notation method (UK) –
    • the mouth is divided into 4 quadrants – a grid of teeth as if looking at the patient
    • teeth are then numbered 1-8 from the centre
    • e.g. a back upper molar could be referred to as “Upper left 7
    • this method is generally the most used in the UK
  2. Universal numbering system (USA) –
    • the American system
    • numbers the teeth from 1-32
    • 1-16 are the top teeth and 17-32 are the lower arch
    • e.g. a back upper molar would be number 15
  3. FDI Two-Digit Notation system (USA/Europe) –
    • like the Palmer method, the mouth is divided into quadrants
    • the first digit denotes the quadrant and the second digit the type of tooth
    • upper right starts with 1, upper left with a 2, lower right with a 4 and lower left with a 3; then after the first number teeth are ordered 1-8 going from the centre
    • e.g. an upper back molar would be 27 or 2-7

It can be very helpful to understand what the dentist is saying, so patients should feel free to ask for explanations about their dental health.

Dental Check Ups

All adults should have regular dental examinations in order to spot issues problems at the earliest stages. How often varies between three monthly and two yearly checkups, depending on how healthy your teeth and gums are and your risk of future problems.

However, many adults have not been for significantly longer. This can be due to poor past experiences (dentist phobia), not prioritising the time, not understanding the importance of a check up or not having a regular dentist they feel comfortable with.

However, regular dental care can be a lot less expensive than restoration – the earlier problems are identified, the easier the treatment will be.

Dentists in London

The Smart Clinics has two highly equipped dentistry studios in London, with one based in the Knightsbridge/South Kensington/Brompton Cross area and the other in Wandsworth, South of the river.

Popular treatments include:

  • General Dentistry – checkups, hygiene and dental care for adults and children
  • Root Canal – specialist treatment for root canal
  • Dental Implants – replacement of teeth with titanium implants and porcelain crowns
  • Gum Disease – care and prevention
  • Tooth Whitening – safe and effective
  • Veneers – to correct a variety of issues including colour, chips, cracks, gaps and shape of the teeth
  • White Fillings – unlike traditional grey fillings, these are not noticeable at all
  • Dental Bonding – repair chips, re-build worn teeth, close gaps and cover discoloration

Interest Free Credit

To spread the cost of treatment, loans from £800 to £25,000 are available on payment of a 20% deposit. Dental members also benefit from a 20% discount on any treatment.

There is 0% or zero interest on loans repaid over 12 months. Longer terms of 2 and 3 years are also available and will be quoted in advance.

See our Dentistry Payment Scheme FAQs for more information.

Dentistry Scheme

The finance scheme is available for members and non-members of The Smart Clinics’ dentistry membership scheme.

Members of our dentistry scheme benefit from:

  • 2 dental examinations a year (including X-rays when necessary)
  • 2 dental hygiene appointments during the year
  • 20% off all dental treatments
  • 50% off home teeth whitening kit
  • £30 per month or £25 per month when taken in addition to medical scheme membership

For more information contact dentistry@thesmartclinics.co.uk.

More Information

Private Healthcare London

The Smart Clinics is a private healthcare company established in 2013, offering a membership-based alternative to NHS care for individuals and families.

The Company describes itself as:

London’s pre-eminent integrated healthcare clinics

Vital health services include private GPs, travel clinic, skin treatments, physiotherapy and much more. Children’s services include immunisation and speech therapy.

The company offers patients a choice of two conveniently located and comfortably equipped clinics at Brompton Cross (South Kensington) and Wandsworth.

Telephone our team on 020 7052 0070.

Contact Us

Make An Appointment

Services are available through our a affordable membership packages or on a drop in 'pay as you go' basis. High quality medical healthcare is readily available:

  • Longer appointment times
  • No waiting lists
  • Evening and weekend appointments
  • Telephone, video and in-person consultations


Call our team on 020 7052 0070

  • Chelsea - Hollywood Rd: Option 2
  • South Ken - Thurloe Place: Option 4
  • Wandsworth - Northcote Rd: Option 5
  • Wandsworth - Bellevue Rd: Option 6

Lines open 8.30-5.30 Monday to Friday, 9.00-12.00 Saturday

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