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How Many Teeth Do Humans Have?

How Many Teeth Do Humans Have?


Adults have 32 teeth.

More Info: This is a bit of a trick question, because up until the age of 13, humans have a set of 20 primary teeth. But by or around that age, those primary teeth have been replaced by a new set of 32 permanent teeth. So technically,  cumulatively the answer is 52, but more realistically, of course, the number of record is the adult total of 32 permanent teeth.

Descriptive Characteristics

Each of these primary and secondary teeth is uniquely defined by their characteristics within five different categories: set, arch, quadrant, sequence in class and class. For dental office purposes, each tooth is also uniquely numbered using a two-digit identifier.

The first number designates which one of the four mouth quadrants the tooth is located in. The second identifying number identifies the type of teeth, based on its relationship to the median of a patient’s face.

Guinness Records

While certainly not the most exciting realm for Guinness World Records, the domain of human teeth does have some noteworthy marks. For example, the oldest person to have wisdom teeth, or permanent molars, extracted was an 80-year-old South African. So unusual was this late-developing wisdom tooth that it was originally thought to be a splinter bone. Conversely, a nine-year-old boy in Michigan ranks as the youngest to have had a need for wisdom teeth to be removed. The process usually doesn’t become necessary until a person is well into adulthood.

The idea of a tooth being auctioned off may also sound preposterous, but, of course, is that permanent, adult tooth once belonged to a famous individual, anything is possible. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the most expensive human tooth ever sold at an auction was an upper right canine extracted from the mouth of famous French general Napoleon Bonaparte. It was purchased in 1817 for the then astronomical sum of nearly $20,000. The tooth was reputed to have been extracted when Napoleon was suffering from scurvy.



Aufderheide, Arthur. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Paleopathology – Descriptive Terminology. Cambridge University Press,1998. Print

Guiness World Records – Oldest Person to Grow a Wisdom Tooth, Retrieved February 1st, 2011 from

Guiness World Records – Youngest Person to Have Wisdom Teeth Extracted, Retrieved February 1st, 2011 from

Guiness Book of World Records – The Most Expensive Tooth Sold at Auction, Retrieved February 1st, 2011 from

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