First permanent molar erupts at the age of 5 and half to 6 and half years and hence is also known as “six year molar”. It is the first non-succeeding tooth to erupt in to the oral cavity. This tooth erupts posterior to the deciduous second temporary molar tooth.
From a functional and developmental point of view, the first permanent molars are the most important teeth, with a key role in occlusion. The first permanent molar has maximum root surface and so is the most important anchorage unit used in tooth movement.
The role of first permanent molars is established in balanced occlusion. Loss of first permanent molars, because of dental caries, negatively affects both arches and has adverse effects on occlusion. It is reported that early extraction of these teeth results in tilting of neighboring teeth to hollow spaces, super-eruption of the teeth in the opposite arch, unilateral chewing, shift in midline and dental malocclusion. Also early loss of first permanent molars creates periodontal problems.
Nature has signified the importance of first permanent molar by giving it the first rank in eruption sequence of the permanent dentition. This tooth is often ignored by parents as it is considered as a temporary tooth.
The first permanent molar tooth has been quoted as the most decay-prone tooth in the permanent dentition due to the presence of deep pits and fissures.
That’s why every attempt should be made to save this tooth in case it has decayed. Prevention is always better than cure!