There is certain terminology that is necessary to use when describing shark teeth. This can become rather intimidating to the beginner. I've included this page as a guide for the novice. I'll be using illustrations in the hopes of giving the beginn er, at the very least, a starting point.

Front Back

Labial - relating to the lips. When referring to teeth, this is the front of the tooth or the side facing the lips.
Lingual -
relating to the tongue. When referring to teeth this is the back of the tooth or the side facing the tongue.


Comments: Unfortunately,  because of aesthetic reasons, shark teeth are normally displayed backwards, that is, the back or lingual side of the tooth is normally shown. This can cause some confusion when trying to read descriptions of specimens.  As general rule of thumb, the flat side of the tooth is the front or labial side when positioned in the jaw.

Tooth Position

Anterior - Front teeth
Lateral - Side teeth
Posterior - Back teeth

Common Terms used in this website


 A. Crown- The enameled portion of  the tooth

 B. Cusplet -  A small projection lateral to the crown

 C. Root - The part of the tooth that attaches to the jaw

 D. Basil margin - Where the root and crow meet


 A. Root lobe - Ends or tips of the root

 B. Nutrient Grove - Grove on the lingual surface of the root

 C. Lingual Protuberance - A projection on the lingual surface of the root

 D. Striations - Lines or wrinkles on the surface of the crown. Only present on a few species.


 A. Mesial side - Facing towards the front of mouth (Convex curve)

 B. Distal side - Facing towards the back of the mouth (Concave curve)

C. Serrations - A toothed edge, similar to a steak knife



 Side view of a tooth showing a  lingual protuberance and the nutrient grove (dark line).

These two terms are used extensively on this website.