Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Dental Formula

  • Kayla AlexanderEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1433-1



(Dental formula) is an abridged expression for the number and kind of teeth of mammals… and the number in each jaw is written like a fraction …. (Merriam-Webster 2018)

Different species of mammals have different amounts of teeth, and therefore, different dental formulas. The dental formula has been developed to help practitioners easily and accurately express the number of and positions of animals’ teeth. The dental formula will change over the life of an animal as it matures from adolescence into adulthood and the number of teeth change. Practitioners and scientists can use the dental formula of an animal, or animal remains, to determine age or to identify the species.

Primary dentition, also known as deciduous teeth, is the teeth mammals have during adolescence. Deciduous teeth will be shed as the animal grows and matures into adulthood (AVDC 2018). In their place, permanent...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Veterinary MedicineMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Mystera M. Samuelson
    • 1
  1. 1.The Institute for Marine Mammal StudiesGulfportUSA