For parents and children, losing “baby” teeth and gaining new teeth can be an exciting event! It marks new milestones for children and they may want to show off their new teeth as they come in. However, as a parent it may be alarming if you notice that your child’s tooth seems to be coming in abnormally. More specifically, if you notice that the first molars, commonly called the “6-year molars” are coming in sideways it can be questionable what to do.

The “6-year molars” are actually the first set of permanent “adult” molars that erupt around the ages of six and seven years. This is how they received their name as the “6-year molars” in the first place. These teeth do not replace any preexisting baby teeth and are very important to have. They do more than just help create a pretty smile. In fact, the “6-year molars” help to determine the structure of the lower face and set a precedent for position and health of the other permanent teeth.

What causes this?

Eruption is the process of movement of a tooth reaching the gums surface. For some molars, like the “6-year molars” eruption may be delayed or not occur at all. However, failure of eruption is usually more rare in “6-year molars.”

Generally, impaction is more likely to occur with these molars. Impaction refers to the molars coming in sideways, which may look like the teeth are coming in at an angle rather than straight up. Factors that can trigger impaction to occur may result from a lack of space in the mouth for the teeth or an unusual eruption path.

What should I do?

Bringing your child to a pediatric dentist would be the first step in the right direction! While at the dentist, a radiograph, commonly called an “X-ray” will be taken of your child’s mouth. This image will be able to provide necessary information to the dentist about your child’s teeth. After reviewing the radiograph, the dentist will be able to recommend the proper treatment that fits your child’s case.

Tips for Helping Your Child Transition to Adult Teeth

As a parent, there are a number of things you can do to help your child as they lose their baby teeth and transition to adult teeth.

Offer Soft Foods
When your child is going through this transition, their mouth will likely be sore. Therefore, it’s a good idea to provide them with soft foods. We recommend applesauce, mashed potatoes, soup, cottage cheese, and polenta. You can even make them fresh smoothies with their favorite fruits and veggies.

Encourage Brushing and Flossing
Many parents make the mistake of thinking their kids don’t have to brush and floss their teeth when they are losing baby teeth and gaining new adult teeth. This is not a good idea as it can lead to cavities and other health issues. Make sure you help your child continue to brush twice a day and floss at least once daily.

Be the Tooth Fairy
The tooth fairy can make this time fun and exciting for children. If possible, reward your child every time they lose a tooth. This can take their mind off of any pain or discomfort they may be experiencing and make the transition easier for both of you.

Prepare Yourself
It’s your job to know when your child’s permanent teeth will start to erupt so you can plan ahead. Their upper and lower front teeth will begin to make their debut between 6 and 8 years old. Canines happen between 9 and 10 while molars arise between 10 and 12 years old.

Call the Dentist
Don’t be afraid to consult the dentist any time you have a question or concern. We’re here to educate you and provide you with the guidance you need to make this transition stress-free for you and your child.

Contact Us

As a parent, if you seemed concerned if your child’s “6-year molars” seem to be coming in sideways, it would be best to assess the situation early on. At Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we have a wonderful staff that ensures your child’s dental experience is unmatched. We encourage you to give our office a call at 703-348-2813 as soon as possible so that we may have the privilege of treating your child’s oral needs.