Being aware of dental formulas, oral anatomy as well as terminology is crucial to proper charting.
• Maxilla - Upper Jaw
• Mandible - Lower Jaw
• Gingiva - Gum tissue
• CEJ - Cemento-Enamel Junction
• Sulcus - Area between free gingiva and tooth
• Subgingival - Below gingiva
• Supragingival - Above gingival
• Labial – surface of incisors towards lips
• Buccal – surface of premolars and molars facing the cheek
• Palatal – Maxilla
• Lingual – Mandible
• Mesial – toward the center
• Distal – away from center
• Coronal – crown
• Apical – toward apex
• Occusal – chewing surface
• Gingival – toward gingiva
• Interproximal – between teeth
Head type of the animal as well as malocclusions need to be noted.
o Mesocephalic – common head type. Meso means medium and cephalic refers to the head.
o Mesocephalic breeds are Laboradors, Beagles, and domestic shorthair cats.
o Brachycephalic – brachy means short. Brachycephalic animals have a short and wide skull. This commonly results
in crowded and rotated premolars. Brachycephalic breeds are Pugs, Boxers, and Persian cats.
o Dolichocephalic – dolicho means long and straight. These are animals with long, narrow heads and very long
and thin muzzles. Dolichocephalic breeds are Dachshunds, Collies, and Siamese cats.
o Incisors – there are 6 incisors in the maxilla and six in the mandible. Incisors are for tearing, nibbling and
o Canine – there are two canines in each the maxilla and the mandible. Canine teeth are used to grabbing, tearing
food and protection. Each canine has one root. The root is approximately 2/3 as long as the visible crown.
o Premolars- the premolars are located behind the canine tooth. In dogs, there are four premolars in each side
of the maxilla and mandible. In cats, there are three premolars in the maxilla and two premolars in the mandible. Premolars
can have one, two or three roots in the maxilla and one or two roots in the mandible. Premolars are used to hold and cut
food into digestible pieces.
o Molars – molars are located behind the premolars. In dogs there are two molars on each side of themaxilla
and three molars on each side of the mandible and may have one, two or three roots. Cats have one tiny molar on each side
of the maxilla and one molar on each side of the mandible and may have one or two roots.