Hesperian Health Guides

Taking Care of Molar Teeth

Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!

Make a giftMake a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.

HealthWiki > Where There Is No Dentist > Chapter 5: Taking Care of Teeth and Gums > Taking Care of Molar Teeth

We often notice front teeth growing in, but not the back ones. Back teeth molars are not so obvious. Swelling on the face can be either a new molar growing in or an abscess. So, to help you to decide, look at the tooth for a cavity and at the gums beside it for a gum bubble.

a girl with an abscess that causes her face to swell
DENT Ch5 Page 66-2.png
Gum bubble
When you see a swollen face, look for the two signs of an abscess.

But if the person is young (16–22 years), it often is not an abscess. The third permanent molar tooth may be growing in at the back of her mouth. As the tooth grows, it cuts through the skin. Just as a dirty cut on a person’s hand can get infected, the cut gum around her new tooth also can get infected, causing a swollen face.

Look behind her back teeth. See the red swollen skin on
top of the new tooth.
DENT Ch5 Page 66-3.png
DENT Ch5 Page 66-4.png

If there is enough space for the tooth, it will grow in by itself. It only needs time. Before acting, decide how serious the problem is.

If there is no swelling and she can open her mouth, explain to her what is happening and what she can do herself to reduce infection and toughen the gums. The best medicine is to rinse warm salt water over the sore area. A good home remedy is to rinse until the tooth grows all the way into the mouth.

If it does appear serious (severe pain, swelling, not able to open the mouth), further treatment is needed.

This page was updated:19 Feb 2018