To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

What numbers mean when dentists shout them out during check-up

What numbers mean when dentists shout them out during check-up

The dentist will call out a load of numbers as they poke around your mouth, but what do they even mean?

“So, did you have a nice holiday, yeah? Eight ok! That’s nice, I was thinking – six and seven ok! – of going there next year. Three to four ok!”

Just reading that has me imagining I’m sitting under a big light with someone in a white jacket poking around my mouth.

And as we sit through a check-up crossing our fingers we won’t need a deep clean or a filling, we can’t help but wonder what on earth all the numbers mean that the dentist keeps shouting out.

They’ll move around our teeth clanging against them with their tools and poking about our gums while calling things out like: “One to three ok.”

And while we can take a pretty good guess at what they mean when they say something like ‘absent’, most of us don’t have a clue what the numbers themselves mean.

But it turns out it’s really nothing to worry about, they’re literally just listing off the different teeth in your gob.

So, each of your teeth has its own numerical equivalent with the first of course being number one. That’s the central incisor, the front teeth.

The dentist will call out numbers during a checkup.
Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Two is the lateral incisor, the teeth on either side of those, followed by the canines at number three. The first and second molars (the ones at the top) are numbers four and five and then the bottom molars make up six, seven and eight.

But as you’ll probably know, the dentist tends to keep on rounding off numbers as they go round, and that’s them ranking your gum health.

These ratings go up to six with one being excellently healthy gums and six being gums that have probably seen better days.

The numbers correlate to the depth of space, called pockets, between your teeth and gums – that’s what they’re poking for.

Healthy gums will tend to have shallower pockets but they become deeper with gum disease and build up bacteria.

The teeth have their own numbers.
Tom Werner/Getty Images

If you’re ranking between 1-3millimetres then you’re falling into the healthy gums mark. But pockets that are 4millimetres or more can indicate a problem.

South Florida Dental Care Practice explains: “If your number is four or higher, you may have significant oral health issues that need to be addressed.

“The number increases when gums are inflamed, when bone loss is beginning, if you have a crack in your tooth, or if you are experiencing periodontal disease.”

Of course, the NHS recommends brushing your teeth twice a day and cutting down on sugar as ways to keep those gums healthy.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Topics: Health