Many people suffer from sensitive teeth at some point in their lives, and this painful problem is common in younger children. However, if your young child complains of pain when their teeth are exposed to hot or cold temperatures, you should still take the problem seriously.
Dental sensitivity in children can be caused by a number of underlying issues, and some of these issues can lead to more serious dental health problems if they aren't treated quickly by a family dentist. Here are three of the most common potential causes of tooth sensitivity in children, along with ways they can be treated:
Newly Erupted Teeth
If your toddler is still teething, or an older child is starting to see their first permanent teeth come in, the newly erupted teeth may be temporarily sensitive to hot and cold food, drinks, and temperatures. This is because the pulp and nerves inside the new teeth are not yet used to being exposed to varying temperatures, causing heightened sensitivity.
This problem should go away by itself within a few weeks, but you can make things easier for your child by avoiding giving them ice cream and other chilled foods. If your child's new teeth are still sensitive after a few weeks, take them to a family dentist -- if the new teeth have been damaged by malocclusion or other orthodontic problems while they were growing, they may need to be treated or corrected to stop the sensitivity.
Young children are particularly vulnerable to sinus problems caused by allergies or minor infections, and one of the lesser-known symptoms of sinus problems is sensitive teeth. This sensitivity usually occurs in the upper molars but can affect most or all of your child's teeth if the infection or allergic reaction is severe enough.
If your child has inflamed sinuses and complains of sensitive teeth, treating the sinus issue will usually correct the sensitivity. You may wish to take your child to a family dentist to be on the safe side. If the tooth causes pain when it is tapped with a dental probe, the sensitivity may be caused by a more serious dental issue.
Dental cavities are a common cause of tooth sensitivity in people of all ages, and children are no less vulnerable. If your child has trouble brushing their teeth correctly, they may have developed cavities in hidden, hard-to-reach areas, causing sensitivity and tooth damage that cannot be easily seen. If your young child is fond of sugary drinks, they may be suffering from baby bottle tooth decay, another common cause of cavities and sensitivity.
Regular dental checkups are vitally important for preventing tooth decay and cavities in young children, and if your child is suffering from sensitivity in a particular tooth or grouping of teeth, you should book an appointment ASAP. If your child is suffering from dental cavities, a family dentist can fix the damage with fillings, and provide your child with advice on proper brushing techniques.