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6 Year Molars – What Every Parent Should Expect

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6 Year Old Molars – What Every Parent Should Expect

As a pediatric dental hygienist, I am often asked lots of questions about new teeth eruption. One of the first sets of permanent teeth to erupt in a child’s mouth are the 6 year molars. These are also known as the first molars or first permanent molars.

It is normal for people to lose their baby teeth as they grow older. When a child loses their teeth and gets grown up teeth, it is considered a huge milestone for them. This means that their baby teeth are giving way for the growth of adult teeth.

Around the time that a child loses their first baby tooth, new molars start to grown in the back of the mouth. Parents and children often have questions about these new grown up molars. This is why it is important to talk about 6 year old molars and what to expect during their 6 year old molar eruption.

As kids approach the age of 6, some of their baby teeth will start to fall out. The roots start dissolving as permanent teeth and push their way up. This pushes the baby teeth out of the way over time.  As the roots dissolve, this enables their baby teeth to get loose & fall out.

This is why you notice them wiggling their primary teeth once they become loose. The experience can be a bittersweet one. The excitement of losing a tooth but the sadness of your child growing up so fast.

Around the time of these baby teeth getting loose, these new first molars begin erupting in each of the back corners of the mouth. In this article you will learn six year old molars symptoms that accompany this stage in the life of kids.

Pictures of 6 year old molars

wisdom teeth pain
Tooth chart

In the above picture you can see all of the permanent teeth. You can see the 1st molars in the picture. These 1st molars are also called the six year old molars. On the teeth numbered chart, you can see that the 6 year molars are numbers: #3, #14, #19 and #30.

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Partially erupted 6 year molar

The above image is a picture of a partially erupted 6 year molar. You can see where the molar is barely peeking through the gums in the purple circle. You can see this area is swollen and irritated due to tooth eruption.

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Picture of 6 year molars

The above picture shows the fully erupted 6 year molar in the green circle. The opposing 6 year molar circled in purple is just now about to erupt.

Six year old molar symptoms

The development of 6 year molar teeth can be a difficult time for some kids. This is due to the onset of six year molar symptoms like:

  • Swollen gums and cheeks

Six year molars are usually the first group of permanent teeth that children will develop. 6 year old molar eruption can lead to gum and face swelling sometimes. Should your kid start to experience swelling in these areas, it can cause you to become worried. But parents should know that some swelling is normal and will subside once the tooth erupts and penetrates gum tissue surface. If any abnormal looking or extremely painful swelling occurs, consult your dentist.

  • Runny nose and sore throat

Children may also experience sore throat and runny nose as they develop their six year molars. Some ways to help your children at this point include giving them cold medicine to alleviate symptoms, as well as encouraging them to get adequate rest. Visit your pediatrician if the symptoms continue or if your child develops a fever higher than 100.4 as it may be something else.

  • Ear pain/ Jaw pain

6 year old molar pain can affect the ears and jaws and cause pain.  Ear and jaw pain occurs due to pain radiation.  Sometimes kids can find this hard to deal with. But you can find help for 6 year old molar ear pain by administering over the counter painkillers such as ibuprofen as suggested by your dentist. Frozen smoothies or frozen berries are also cold foods that can help with the pain.

  • Diarrhea and fever

Mild fever and mild diarrhea are sometimes some of the uncomfortable symptoms that come with the onset of 6 year old molars. Most parents are usually confused about what to do during this period. Mild fevers are a frequent occurrence during teething in kids. Fevers that exceed 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit should not be taken lightly but should prompt you to consult your doctor.

Expect that a low grade fever will dissipate once the teeth erupt. But you might consider administering over-the-counter painkillers if you notice that your child’s daily routine is limited by the fever. Ensure that you administer the right dosage by considering their weight and age. You also want to take care not to administer any drug that is expired. 

  • Other symptoms

Other symptoms associated with 6 year old molar eruption apart from swelling and fever include facial rash, irritability, sucking, chewing on things as well as vomiting, ear rubbing, lack of appetite, and drooling. 

Parents find it challenging to watch their child suffer from 6 year old molar pain due to the symptoms associated with the process. But it is important to understand that such symptoms are normal and will disappear after some time.

Preparing for 6 year old molar eruption – What to do

While you anticipate six year old molars symptoms, there are steps to help you prepare your child for the development of permanent teeth. Here are some vital steps to follow:

  • Ensure that your kid’s teeth and gums are in the best condition to aid the healthy eruption of the adult molar. This also lowers the risk of developing an infection.
  • Inspect their teeth to check for food particles that are trapped in. You can take them out with the help of brushing and dental floss. Check out my recommendation for the best electric toothbrush.
  • Space retainers can also help in areas where baby teeth are absent. This will help in the right formation of adult teeth.
  • You can soothe six year old molar symptoms with teething gel and over-the-counter pain killers as recommend by your dentist.
  • Make sure you have these available and don’t forget to use warm, salty rinses to help with inflammation. 
  • Keep track of how well the adult teeth are erupting by visiting the dentist regularly.
  • If you notice the permanent teeth growing directly behind baby teeth that are still in place, consult your dentist.

Getting 6 year old molars early or late – What parents should do

Some parents are concerned about 6 year molars coming in early or late in their kids. If you have a child below the age of 6 and you notice that they are developing early molars, do not hesitate to get in touch with a dental health professional. Same goes for if you child is well over the age of 6 and getting in late molars.

The dental health expert will examine your child and analyze the situation. This will help to determine if the 6 year old molars truly came earlier or later than expected. Dental age ranges can vary a lot so usually if the 6 year molars come in early or late, it is nothing to worry about.

More checks on your child will be conducted by the dentist to rule out a wide range of dental conditions and issues. This will also help you understand whether other dental issues are responsible for your child getting their molars early.

There are cases where kids who seem to be experiencing 6 year molars coming in early actually battling a tooth abscess. This condition refers to an infection that affects the tooth’s root. It can also occur between the gum and tooth. A tooth abscess can trigger very painful swelling that needs immediate medical attention to prevent it from spreading.

Sealants on 6 year molars

Once your child’s first permanent molars are fully erupted, the dentist will likely want to do sealants on them as a preventative measure to help prevent cavities. This is a simple procedure that involves putting a coating of sealant into the deep grooves of the new teeth. This makes the grooves easier to help keep clean and can help prevent cavities in the deep grooves of the teeth.

Once your child get in the 2nd molars, also known as the 12 year molars, these can be sealed as well.

Helping your kids get through permanent teeth formation

The time when your child’s baby teeth start to fall off is the best time for you to bond with them. Kids usually find this period to be challenging, especially due to the symptoms that come with 6 year old molar eruption. This is the best time to communicate regularly with them and help them to go through the process by getting them to eat softer foods. Do not forget to teach them how to keep their teeth clean so that their adult teeth stay healthy.

It is important to remember that now the child has teeth further in the back, you will need to help them get their toothbrush back far enough to reach the back molars. Don’t forget to floss these new teeth and that includes behind the molar where there is no other tooth touching. You want to keep these areas as clean as possible to avoid infections and irritation.

Got any dental questions you need answered? Drop me an email and let me know what topics you would like to see covered here at Toothbrush Life.

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Kelly Hancock, RDH

Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.

This article and all advice on this website, Toothbrush Life, is intended to help people gain knowledge about general oral health topics. No articles or advice on this website are intended to replace professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or qualified healthcare provider to help you with any questions you have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

17 thoughts on “6 Year Molars – What Every Parent Should Expect

  1. Reply
    Bonnie Clark - February 6, 2020

    My six year woke up this morning complaining about his tooth on the bottom back side where the tooth is then gums are. I looked at it it it’s a red spot like I bump almost like a cut on the gum. If it was molars coming in will be an both sides not just one side?

    1. Reply
      Kelly Hancock, RDH - February 6, 2020

      Sometimes the 6 year molars get a little puffy, red and irritated while erupting. The molars usually come in around the same time but one will always be ahead of the other. That’s why I would may look a little bit irritated as it is erupting and then the other one will be right behind it. You can always do warm salt water rinses to help ease the inflammation and keep it clean. Although it is probably a little painful due to eruption, make sure to brush all the way to the back molar very gently so that way those teeth don’t get plaque and food debris trapped back there causing further irritation.

  2. Reply
    Alison - February 9, 2020

    My 6 yo had a red spot in back upper left side yesterday.. Almost looked like a blood blister .. this morning I checked it and it was a gum flap no longer red blood looking it was regular pinkish gums color. But there is no tooth erupting just the gum looks larger

    1. Reply
      Kelly Hancock, RDH - February 9, 2020

      This all appears to be normal eruption. To be absolutely certain though you can definitely book an exam with your dentist to get it checked out. Gum tissues usually swell and sometimes appear to have a blood blister and gum flap during eruption. I know with my own son it was better within 2 days.

  3. Reply
    Megan - April 3, 2020

    Hi my daughter has been experiancing her first adult molar trying to come through for 3 months now and it doesn’t appear to have erupted further, she periodically experiences very extreme pain that sometimes lasts for hours, painkillers and age appropriate numbing doesn’t touch the pain. Our dentist is currently all shut due to the covid 19 outbreak. Is there anything I can do? Should I be worried it is taking so so long to come through?

    1. Reply
      Kelly Hancock, RDH - May 4, 2020

      Although erupting molars can sometimes get a little swollen and irritated, I don’t feel it should be causing her that much pain. Her dentist should be seeing emergency patients now. I would call your dentist and explain the situation. Try warm salt water rinses in the meantime.

  4. Reply
    Sue - April 15, 2020

    my 6 year old has little flap of skin by the molar tooth..what can I do? Especially now that we are in lockdown due to covid19..
    Thank you

    1. Reply
      Kelly Hancock, RDH - April 15, 2020

      This is typically completely normal although I cannot really look at your situation. That would need to be looked at by your dentist. Usually as a molar is erupting, the back half will have a large flap of gum tissue over it. This may get in the way of their eating and chewing for a few days but will subside as the tooth quickly erupts.

  5. Reply
    Cristina - April 27, 2020

    My 6 year old has her molars coming in and one looks so swollen and had a hole but now it’s like a keloid what should I do

    1. Reply
      Kelly Hancock, RDH - May 4, 2020

      I would consult with your dentist as soon as possible so they he can do an intraoral exam and xrays.

  6. Reply
    Kimberly - April 29, 2020

    Is it uncommon for the 6 year old molar’s to bleed ?? Or was I brushing too hard

    1. Reply
      Kelly Hancock, RDH - May 4, 2020

      Yes that can be fairly common as the tooth is erupting. Be sure to clean the area well so food and plaque do not get stuck under the tissue flap as the tooth is erupting.

  7. Reply
    Caz - October 13, 2020

    My 5.5 year old started complaining of tooth ache a week before, and refused to eat. we took him in for dental check and they confirmed it was his 6year molars coming in. He has lost his appetite, but will eat if we force him to take in some soft foods. Hes had slight temps every other day, and walks around like his got a stiff neck, and cant turn his head properly. says his jaw aches, and back of his head. otherwise he seems like himself, laughing and chatting when hes in bed, but just not his usual physically active self coz of his aches in his jaw and neck. anyone else have the same?

  8. Reply
    Alyson - October 23, 2020

    Thank you for this very informative article! I found the details very helpful in understanding my 6 year olds current symptoms

    1. Reply
      Kelly Hancock, RDH - October 26, 2020

      Thank you! Let me know if you have any other questions. I would love to help 🙂

  9. Reply
    Tamanna - October 26, 2020

    Hello doc! Your article was very helpful
    Actually my daughter is getting her 6 year molar but the pre molar just before that has been extracted due to cavity…do I need to do something about it so that the molar erupts without a problem?

    1. Reply
      Kelly Hancock, RDH - October 26, 2020

      Hi Tamara! I would definitely visit your dentist to get everything checked out. If I am understanding correctly, it sounds like your child could maybe use a space maintainer to hold space for the permanent premolar to come in.

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