Dental Formula


All humans have four types of teeth:

  • Incisors.
  • Canines.
  • Premolars.
  • Molars.

All four types of teeth are present on the jawbones, extending into the buccal cavity. All four types of teeth serve various functions such as cutting, crushing, tearing and shredding the food. Teeth are quite important in many ways. Obviously, teeth are very essential when eating, as it helps us to consume a wider palate of food and also plays a major role in digestion.

Apart from eating, our teeth keep our jaw bone strong, provide shape to our face, and also helps in our speech. Overall, teeth are our crowning glory and its features make us look attractive.

Also Read: The Mouth and Buccal Cavity


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 Nutrition in animals or 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 3 molar) / (2 incisors 1 canine 2 premolar 3 molar)

Humans have two dental formulae:

The primary dentition (20 teeth):

I2/2 C1/1 M2/2 = 10

The permanent dentition (32 teeth):

I2/2C1/1 P2/2 M 3/3 = 16.

Where: I – Incisors, C-Canine  and M-Molar

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.

The 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 premolars and 4 molar) /                        (6 incisors 2 canine 8 premolars and 6 molar)                                            = 42 teeth.

The dental formula of Cat

The cat is also a small domesticated mammal. Alike Dog, cat do consume both plants and animals. The dental formula for Cat is

                  2 x (3131 / 3121) = 30 teeth                                  (6 incisors 2 canine 6 premolars and 2 molar)   /                           (6 incisors 2 canine 4 premolars and 2 molar) = 30 teeth.

The dental formula of Cattle
Cattles mostly refer to cows. They are domesticated mammals, raised to produce milk. All Cattles have a unique set of teeth and categorized into cud-chewing animals. They do not have canines and upper incisors. The dental formula for cattle is:

                      2 x (033 /433) = 32 teeth                           (0 incisors 6 premolars and 6 molar) /                                                (8 incisors 6 premolars and 6 molar) = 32 teeth.

Also Refer: Fascinating Facts About Teeth

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