Molar pain in children can be caused by both dental problems and medical disorders. Before the children's dentist can recommend a treatment plan to treat your child's molar pain, they will need to perform a comprehensive oral examination. Here are some things that will be included in your child's dental workup examination to help the dentist determine the source of pain.

Bitewing And Panoramic X-rays

A series of bitewing dental x-rays will be taken to evaluate your child's oral cavity for impactions, bone destruction, and pulp infections. While bitewing x-rays are often very effective in revealing molar pain, the children's dentist may recommend another type of x-ray known as a panoramic view x-ray. This type of x-ray can generate images of all of your child's teeth and oral structures at the same time. Instead of sitting in the dental chair, your child will need to stand in close proximity to the x-ray machine while the image is taken.

Panoramic dental x-rays are very helpful in revealing impacted molars and abscessed teeth. Dental x-rays are considered very safe, however, before the procedure, your child will wear a lead apron and perhaps a lead neck collar that will protect the thyroid gland from the small amount of ionizing radiation that may be emitted from the x-rays.

Probing Examination

Because pediatric molar pain is often the result of dental decay, gum disease, or pulp infections, the dentist may perform a probing examination, which will reveal these conditions. A dental probing examination uses a pointy instrument called a periodontal probe to check the gum tissue and the spaces in between the teeth. If an infection or abscess is present, drainage may ooze out of the gums when they are probed with the instrument.

If periodontal disease is causing molar pain, the surrounding gum tissue may bleed upon probing. The examination may also reveal unstable or loose teeth and the presence of periodontal pockets. If your child has periodontal pockets in the gum tissue surrounding the painful molar, then periodontitis may be present. Fortunately, periodontal pockets often resolve following treatment for gum disease. 

If your child develops molar pain or pain in their other teeth, make an appointment with the children's dentist as soon as possible. When the source of molar pain is diagnosed early, prompt treatment can be implemented to prevent complications such as periodontitis, damage to the bones structures that support your child's teeth, extensive decay, and tooth loss.