What to Expect for Your Child’s First Adult Teeth

A pediatric dentist looking at a child's first adult teeth

Teething is a painful process for young children.

It’s tough for parents too.


The process doesn’t end with your child’s last baby tooth.

It starts all over with adult teeth.


Your child’s adult teeth coming in is a different experience.

Let’s go over what happens during this stage of your child’s teeth development and concerns.

Your child’s first adult teeth: “Six-year” molars

The first adult teeth to emerge are almost always the first molars on the bottom and top rows of teeth.

They’re often called “six-year” molars because they typically arrive between the ages of six and seven.

Sometimes, parents mistake these molars for primary teeth because they arrive early.


Six-year molars are permanent teeth and need to be cared for as such.

All your child’s teeth require good oral hygiene throughout their lifetime.

Six-year molar symptoms

It’s normal for your child to experience discomfort as their first adult teeth arrive.

Common painful symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Swelling
  • Cheek biting
  • A low-grade fever

Ease your child’s discomfort by having them:

  • Gently massage their gums with a damp toothbrush
  • Eat and drink cold, soft foods and beverages
  • Swishing warm saltwater
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever for severe symptoms (as directed by your healthcare professional)

We always recommend talking to your child’s dentist if you’re unsure of what to do.

Or do you need a pediatric dentist in Terre Haute, IN?

Contact us at Dentistry Just For Kids.

Eating with six-year molars

Tooth pain and jaw pain are more common with emerging adult teeth.

As a parent, you can help ease their teething pain by being mindful of their diet.

Instead of hot, crunchy, or zesty foods:

Provide cooler, soft-textured foods.

These types of foods reduce the time they have to spend chewing foods.


Less spicey means less sting in the affected gum.

Here are a few examples:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Mashed vegetables
  • Chilled applesauce
  • Smoothies
  • Soft chicken salad
  • Soups

When will all their adult teeth arrive?

The rest of your child’s adult teeth include:

  • Four central incisors
  • Four lateral incisors
  • Eight premolars
  • Four canines
  • 12 molars

These teeth arrive at different rates.


Most arrive by the age of 13.

Bonus: Wisdom teeth

The last permanent teeth are your child’s third molars or “wisdom teeth.”

Typically, these arrive between ages 17 and 21.

They are:

  • The furthest teeth in the back of the mouth
  • Often not needed for chewing and processing food
  • Removed when they negatively impact oral health

Wisdom teeth can be painful and should be x-rayed by your child’s dentist to determine if any action needs to be taken.

Visit our dentists in Terre Haute, IN

Now you know:

Your child’s first adult teeth are their six-year molars.


It’s normal for your child to be uncomfortable as their adult teeth come in.

If you have questions, contact our children’s dental office.

We’ll be happy to talk to you about growing a healthy adult smile and ways you can guide your child to oral health success.

Or you can:

Dentistry Just For Kids is located in Terre Haute, IN… This text opens a new tab to our Google listing…. We proudly serve patients from across the Wabash Valley, including Terre Haute, Clinton, Rockville, Covington, Brazil, Greencastle, Sullivan, Linton, Shakamak, Vincennes, Marshall, Paris, Robinson, Olney, Effingham, Charleston, Casey, Mattoon, Greenup, Flora, and Newton.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2018 and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness and timeliness.