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
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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 and cooler 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. For more great articles about teeth and your child’s teeth development, be sure to subscribe.
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.