Pain from sensitive teeth can be excruciating sometimes. Children with sensitive teeth may not be able to describe the actual sensation, but parents need to be aware of the signs of tooth sensitivity to be able to address them right away. If your child complains of toothache when they eat cold or hot food or when they touch the particular tooth, then it is most likely because of tooth sensitivity. Sensitive teeth need to be seen and treated by your pediatric dentist to prevent further injury to the tooth.
Normally, a healthy tooth is fully covered by a protective layer called enamel. Tooth enamel is above the gum line. Under the gumline is the cementum, which is the layer of the tooth that protects the root. Below both the enamel and cementum layers, is what we call dentin. Dentin is less dense compared to the two upper coats. The tooth’s dentin layer has microscopic tubules that are like small canals. Now, a tooth becomes very sensitive when the dentin gets exposed. Tooth sensitivity is particularly true when heat, cold, acid, and food particles reach the nerves inside the tooth.
There are several reasons why your child may have sensitive teeth, they may be as follows:
- Your child may be developing cavities. Tooth decay causes damage to the enamel. Once this happens, the dentin layer of the tooth gets exposed, triggering pain.
- Your child may have worn tooth fillings. A previously pasted tooth filling may have been removed, exposing inner layers of the tooth.
- Your child may have an eroded tooth enamel, which happens when the acids from the food and drinks that your child takes in attack the teeth. Since the tooth enamel has eroded, the dentin becomes exposed, causing a sensitive tooth.
- Your child may have accidentally fractured his or her teeth. He or she may have a cracked or broken tooth.
- Your child may be brushing too hard, causing abrasions on the teeth. Improper brushing can lead to worn tooth enamel, again exposing the dentin layer. The sensitive part occurs between the teeth and the gum
- A new tooth is surfacing. Emerging baby or permanent teeth can cause sensitivity when air or food comes into contact.
The best way to assess and treat your child’s sensitive teeth is to visit your child’s dentist as soon as possible. Your child’s sensitive teeth can be treated. But the best type of treatment that the pediatric dentist will recommend will be based on what is causing the tooth sensitivity. If the sensitive tooth is because of an eroded enamel or removed the filling, a crown or composite filling can be put on to fix it. A fluoride varnish application can also protect the teeth from further damage and address the sensitivity. Likewise, there are toothpaste products that are specially made for sensitive teeth. If the tooth sensitivity is severe and can no longer be treated by other methods, the dentist may recommend a root canal treatment to stop the dental problem.
As always, we encourage you and your child to regularly brush and floss. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Proper and regular dental hygiene is essential in preventing tooth sensitivity, especially in children’s developing teeth.
Do not hesitate to ask your dentists if you have any concerns or questions about sensitive teeth the next time you visit us at Kidsmile. We will be more than happy to answer them and help you and your child achieve healthy and happy smiles.
Sensitive Teeth, MouthHealthy by the American Dental Association https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/s/sensitive-teeth
Sensitive Teeth, Oral Health Foundation https://www.dentalhealth.org/sensitive-teeth