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Does Your Child Have a Sensitive Tooth that Hurts? Here’s What it Could Be…

Nothing hurts a parent more than knowing your child is in pain. No, we’re not talking about, “I fell and got a boo-boo on my knee, but I really just want you to kiss it and make it better” type of pain; we’re talking about real pain.

While a child’s sensitive tooth isn’t always extremely painful, it certainly can be depending on why the tooth is sensitive in the first place.

If your child has been complaining about a sensitive tooth, we recommend that you take them to see a pediatric dentist as soon as possible. If you happen to be in the North Atlanta area, Dental Town has 4 locations (Alpharetta, Canton, Cumming and Johns Creek) and would love to meet you and your child to find out what the problem is and determine how we can fix it.

So what could it be? Here are a few of the most common causes of sensitive teeth in kids.

1 Acid reflux

Your first reaction to this one may be, “No way, my child doesn’t have that,” or maybe even, “How in the world can reflux be related to sensitivity?”

Here’s how it works.

When a child or adult has reflux, it’s not uncommon for a dentist to discover it before you do. This is because, even in cases of mild reflux, the enamel around the back teeth can seem to erode away due to the corrosive, damaging nature of reflux.

So while you may be thinking that acid reflux could only damage your stomach or your esophagus, it can actually damage your teeth and gums, as well. The bottom line is that regardless of why you think your child’s teeth might be sensitive, it’s a good idea to get it checked out by a pediatric dentist as they may be able to identify an underlying issue and prevent further damage.

2 A cracked or fractured tooth (or cavities)

If your child has a cavity or a cracked tooth, sensitivity is likely to follow. This is because the nerves can become more exposed, thus increasing your child’s risk of sensitivity.

In addition to cavities or a cracked tooth, sensitivity (along with red gums and inflammation) can also be an early sign of gum disease and should be checked out accordingly.

3 Dental infection

A dental abscess or infection can cause a wide variety of painful symptoms, including sensitive teeth.

A dental infection (or any infection for that matter) is not something that you want to mess around with, so if your child is experiencing any of the common symptoms of a dental infection (toothache, sensitivity, swelling in the jaw, painful chewing, etc.) then please give a pediatric dentist in your area a call immediately.

4 Impacted wisdom tooth

While wisdom teeth typically fully erupt in the late teens or early 20s, an impacted wisdom tooth can cause tooth sensitivity in older children (primarily teenagers). A wisdom tooth becomes impacted when it is blocked from erupting by the surrounding teeth or when it is sitting horizontal.

If you have a young child who is complaining of tooth sensitivity, it likely isn’t due to their wisdom teeth. However, if you have a teenager who is complaining of pain and sensitivity near the back of the mouth, then it could be an impacted wisdom tooth.

This article from the American Dental Association below goes into greater detail on impacted wisdom teeth:

5 Too aggressive when brushing

While brushing teeth is a struggle for some children, others absolutely love it (especially when they have a cool toothbrush and awesome toothpaste with their favorite superhero or movie character on it).

Many children get excited when they brush their teeth and try to brush as hard as possible. While this might sound like a good idea on the surface, aggressive brushing can actually damage your gums and tooth enamel, leading to increased tooth sensitivity. If your child is complaining of sensitive teeth, monitor how they are brushing their teeth; you may need to show them how they can brush gently and hopefully avoid the agitation and sensitivity that can accompany aggressive, overzealous brushing habits.

6 Underlying sinus issues

Sometimes a sensitive tooth isn’t really a dental issue at all, but a symptom of another condition. The sinuses come in close proximity to the roots and nerve endings in teeth, and if your child is suffering from a sinus infection, inflammation of the sinuses could have the unwanted side effect of tooth sensitivity.

If you think this is the case, then you should look for other symptoms of sinus issues and schedule an appointment with your pediatrician or family physician to treat the underlying, root cause.

7 New, sensitive adult teeth

For many children, after primary teeth fall out and adult or permanent teeth start to erupt through the gums, pain and sensitivity can ensue. While in most cases it’s nothing to worry about, it can certainly feel like the end of the world to your child.

If this is the case, you should consult with your pediatrician or pediatric dentist in order to see how to best manage this pain. It’s possible that a local anesthetic, or a mild, non-habit forming pain reliever could be used to help alleviate the discomfort, but again you should speak with a doctor or pediatric dentist about the issue.

Are these issues causing your child’s tooth sensitivity? It’s time to find out.

Sensitive teeth aren’t fun for anyone. If your child is suffering from a sensitive tooth, then we recommend booking an appointment with one of our pediatric dental locations (Alpharetta, Canton, Cumming, and Johns Creek, GA) near you.

Don’t wait, because you never know what kind of underlying issues could be related to tooth sensitivity, and it’s always best to get it checked out immediately just to be on the safe side.

You can schedule your appointment here or give us a call. We look forward to meeting you and your child, as well as solving the tooth sensitivity issues they are experiencing.