Molar Teeth Pain: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

BY Dr. McDowell  |  June 13th, 2022
Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..

Hot summer temperatures pair perfectly with delicious cold foods. The last thing you want is to feel a sharp pain the moment you indulge in your cold drink or ice cream. Sensitive teeth and molar tooth pain can put a damper on any occasion, which is why it’s important to understand what’s causing this discomfort so that you can address it.

Let’s get to the root of your tooth pain by learning more about it below.

molar teeth pain symptoms causes and treatments dental xray consultation

Molar Teeth Pain vs. Teeth Sensitivity: What’s the Difference?

Molar teeth make up the back section of the mouth. These 12 teeth are found along the maxilla (upper jaw) and mandible (lower jaw) and are primarily used for grinding tough foods. Even though these teeth are tough, it doesn’t mean they are not susceptible to problems. In fact, since they are used so frequently for chewing, problems can occur more often than you’d think.

But what about teeth sensitivity?

Many people associate teeth sensitivity with noticeable pain when eating or drinking hot and cold foods. This broad term is widely used for a range of concerns for all 32 permanent teeth. While it could be as simple as some slightly worn tooth enamel or a painful indicator of exposed tooth roots. Some other factors that cause tooth discomfort include:

If you’re experiencing these issues in your molar teeth, they are an alert to let you know something is causing a problem.

What Are Some Early Symptoms?

There are many different symptoms that could indicate molar tooth pain. Depending on where they are located, they could either impact one tooth or could affect the surrounding teeth. Some early symptoms of molar tooth pain include:

molar teeth pain symptoms causes and treatments hot sensitivity

What Are Some Common Causes of Molar Tooth Pain?

Since upper and lower jaw pain isn’t normal, it’s important to view it as a warning sign of bigger issues, such as cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, or a tooth infection. Let’s learn more about these common issues below:


There is only a finite amount of tooth enamel on your teeth. Cavities are caused by acid from the bacteria that live on your teeth and slowly form holes. They usually result from insufficient dental hygiene – like not regularly flossing, brushing, etc. Since molar teeth are in the back of the mouth, they are more difficult to clean and can be the perfect place for cavities to form.

Regular cavities can cause sharp pain while chewing; however, bacteria could get into them, causing an infected tooth, known as a pulpit. While some home treatments may help, it’s best to seek dental care to help avoid permanent damage to your teeth and mouth.


Periodontitis is the inflammation of the gums, more commonly known as gum disease. Gingivitis is an early stage predictor of this disease as well. It can make chewing painful, cause gums to shrink, and in severe cases, erode your gums to the point of making them loose.

Did you know how connected your mouth is to the overall health of your heart? Poor dental health can increase the risk of a bacterial infection in the bloodstream, which can affect the heart valves. Since Periodontitis is a gum disease, it is associated with a higher likelihood of developing heart disease as well.

Tooth Infection

There are many other kinds of infections that can cause molar pain. While they may start in a single tooth, they could spread to nearby teeth and even the airway if left untreated. A sinus infection or acute bacterial sinusitis is a great example of this. These infections can cause excessive pain and swelling to the area.

Another common sign of an advanced infection is a tooth abscess. These are pockets of pus that can cause severe pain. The best way to treat a molar infection is through a tooth extraction or root canal.

Hot and Cold Sensitivity

As mentioned above, this could be caused by many things. But when it comes to molar pain, it could be an indicator of tooth decay or broken teeth. These are some of the most common issues, especially if you grind your teeth at night. To get a more thorough understanding of what’s causing this pain, it’s best to schedule a visit to your dentist.

Wisdom Teeth

Your wisdom teeth are the last adult teeth to emerge in your mouth. They push through the back part of your mouth to complete the set. The downside of these adult molars is that they can cause several issues while emerging from your gums, including:

Luckily, oral surgeons are trained to spot issues in these teeth in order to remove each wisdom tooth safely. Plan an oral exam to get them removed.

molar teeth pain symptoms causes and treatments dentist drilling

How Can You Treat Molar Pain?

When dental problems arise, you may wonder what type of treatment will help. There are several different things you can do at home that temporarily relieve pain. However, you should contact your dentist or see a doctor as soon as possible, especially for dental emergencies like a cracked tooth.

Here are some ways to relieve molar pain at home:

Get Help Treating Molar Pain

Once you’ve treated your tooth pain, it’s best to focus on building a healthy game plan for good oral health long term. Having good dental hygiene can help deter many of these issues, along with visiting the dentist regularly for a physical examination. By being able to spot concerns in the early stages, you can make a plan to avoid more problems down the road.

Stop dealing with your molar tooth pain. Book an appointment today with Wayzata Dental to get the relief you need.

Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..