In the mouth there are multiple sets of teeth that each perform a different function in order to help chew and break down food properly. Most importantly, the molars, which are located in the very back of the mouth, have flat surfaces that grind the food into small bits. Generally, an individual has up to three sets of molars.
The four first molars are commonly referred to as the “six year molars” because they erupt around the age of six and the four second molars are typically called “twelve year molars,” since they erupt around the age of twelve. However, the last sets of four molars, which are the “wisdom teeth” typically, do not appear until later in life (usually between the range of 15 to 25 years of age).
Since some teeth come in at certain time frames, cutting certain teeth has the potential to cause symptoms for some individuals or none at all– it varies case by case. However, it is not uncommon to experience discomfort or pain, a mild fever, or a slight headache when cutting teeth. However, it is important to note that any fever that is above 102 degrees Fahrenheit should not be associated with teething. If a fever has been documented at this temperature or higher, it is recommended that medical attention be taken.
Twelve-Year Molars Specific
If your child is experiencing any discomfort, pain or headache while cutting their twelve-year molars it is possible. However, if any pain or headache worsens to become severe, it is recommended that you take your child to any pediatric dentist available for further examination.
As for any mild fever that may be experienced while the molars are erupting, an over the counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen following the proper dosage should be effective. You should also encourage your child to drink plenty of water, get adequate rest, place a cold compress on their forehead, and/or use essential oils. These natural remedies may be just what they need to find relief from the discomfort 12-year molars may bring. As our dentist friends in Richmond, VA River Run Dental always say, address the concern before it gets out of hand.
Other Causes of Molar Pain
While molar pain can be related to your child’s teeth, it can also be caused by another condition. They may face molar pain when they experience sensitivity to cold and heat. The cold and heat can wear away their tooth enamel and is often the result of broken teeth, tooth decay, old fillings, and gum disease.
Tooth abscess may also lead to molar pain. This arises when your child develops an infection near the root of their molar or the gumline. It looks like a pocket of pus and may occur from an injured tooth, decayed tooth, or even after your child gets dental work.
Also known as tooth decay, cavities may make their debut in your child’s molars if they do not practice proper oral hygiene. This can lead to feelings of sharp pain and throbbing in molars and be extremely uncomfortable.
Periodontitis is a gum infection that your can affect your child’s molars and make it painful for them to chew. This is a serious condition that often causes inflammation, wears away the bones near the teeth, and damages the tissues in the gums. Left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and serious health complications such as diabetes and heart disease.
If your child injures themselves in sports or another activity, they may also face molar pain. This pain may be sudden or sharp and appear any time they eat or drink hot or cold foods or drinks. In addition, teeth grinding, teeth clenching, and a sinus infection can all cause pressure that radiates to the molars.
Lastly, your child may face molar pain if their jaw doesn’t function properly. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is common and can cause pain around your child’s jaw and nearby muscles. The pain will likely be more prominent when they chew.
How to Keep Molars Healthy
Even though your child can’t see their molars when they smile, it’s essential for them to keep their molars in tip-top condition. After all, these teeth allow your child to chew properly and maintain a great facial structure. Without molars, it can be a real challenge for your child to chew a tough piece of steak or a mouthful of chips as these teeth break them down thanks to their large size and jagged surfaces.
Since molars are the teeth that most often contact with food, they are highly prone to accumulating food particles and developing tooth decay. The good news is that there are a number of things your child can do to keep their molars healthy.
If possible, buy them a toothbrush that is specifically designed for hard-to-reach places like molars and make sure your child brushes their molars at least twice a day. Your child should spend some extra time brushing molars to make sure they are thoroughly cleaned all food debris are removed. It’s also a good idea for them to floss their molars daily to keep the spaces between them clean. Using mouthwash to eliminate bacteria is a wise choice as well.
Be sure to educate your child on the importance of caring for their molars as they may easily overlook teeth that they can’t easily see. A pediatric dentist at our office can also explain why molars are so important and provide your child with tips on how to give every molar that TLC it deserves.
If your child seems to be showing signs of severe pain, fever or headache while cutting their twelve-year molars, we strongly recommend scheduling a visit with us at Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry located in Ashburn, Virginia. Our wonderful pediatric dentist, Dr. Konz will evaluate your child’s mouth to ensure that the molars are coming in properly. Our staff is dedicated to treating young children and adolescents and wants to assure you that your little one will be in great care with us!