Dental Formula


All humans have four types of teeth: incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. All four types of teeth are present on the jawbones, extending into the buccal cavity. These types of teeth serve various functions such as cutting up, crushing, tearing and shredding the food. Teeth are quite important as it helps us to consume a wider palate of food and also plays a major role in digestion.


The term dentition is mainly used to describe the arrangement of teeth, including their number and types. A normal adult has 32 teeth. Animals have different types and shapes of teeth, which are specialised based on their eating habits.

Also read: Types of Teeth in Humans

What is a Dental Formula?

The method of expressing or describing the total number of teeth in man and animals according to the arrangement is termed as the Dental Formula. This formula is expressed using letters and figures. The letters used in this formula are based on the 4 types of teeth like– Incisor, Canine, Premolar, and Molar.

The Dental Formula is expressed as:
(The number of each type of teeth in the upper jaw) / (The number of teeth on


one side of the lower jaw)

Dental Formula = = (2 incisors 1 canine 2 premolar and 3 molar) / (2 incisors 1 canine 2 premolar and 3 molar)

Humans have two dental formulae:

  • The primary dentition (20 teeth): I 2/2 C 1/1 M 2/2 = 10
  • The permanent dentition (32 teeth): I 2/2C 1/1 P 2/2 M 3/3 = 16

Among all other mammals, both humans and apes have similar sets of teeth and dental formulae.

Dental Formulae of Animals

Similar to humans, the dental formulae of various animals differ from juveniles to adults.

Dental formula of Dog
Dogs are omnivores, which means they consume both plants and animals. The dental formula for Dog is — 2 x (3142 /3143) = 42 teeth. = (6 incisors 2 canine 8 premolar and 4 molar) / (6 incisors 2 canine 8 premolar and 6 molar) = 42 teeth.

Dental formula of Cat
The dental formula for Cat is –2 x (3131 / 3121) = 30 teeth. = (6 incisors 2 canine 6 premolar and 2 molar) / (6 incisors 2 canine 4 premolar and 2 molar) = 30 teeth.

Dental formula of Cattle
Cattles do not have canines and upper incisors. The dental formula for cattle is 2 x (033 /433) = 32 teeth. = (0 incisors 6 premolar and 6 molar) / (8 incisors 6 premolar and 6 molar) = 32 teeth.

Further Reading: Fascinating Facts About Teeth

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