As parents, it is only natural to be concerned with our children’s health and wellbeing. Of course, their oral health is no exception. Similar to adults, children are susceptible to cavities, decay, gum disease, and other dental problems that can cause their teeth to become sensitive. Also like adults, tooth sensitivity can make routine tasks like eating and drinking exceedingly painful for young children.
The same applies to when they are brushing their teeth as well. If the sharp, temporary pain that accompanies tooth sensitivity is distressing for adults, imagine how distressing those same symptoms are for our little ones. Fortunately, many of the treatments used to resolve sensitive teeth in adults can also be used to treat tooth sensitivity in children as well. In this article, we will take a closer look at what causes tooth sensitivity in the first place and some of the treatments that are currently available.
CAN TOOTH SENSITIVITY IN CHILDREN BE PREVENTED?
When it comes to preventing tooth sensitivity in children, the preventative measures that parents can take to help their little ones avoid tooth pain are pretty much the same ones that they use themselves. More often than not, preventing tooth sensitivity comes down to practicing good oral hygiene. Which can prevent tooth enamel from eroding. If this occurs, the tooth’s dentin will be exposed, which is what triggers tooth sensitivity for most children and adults.
However, it is important to note that tooth sensitivity may also be a byproduct of chipped teeth, worn fillings, and other dental problems. Nonetheless, many of these problems can be avoided by brushing at least twice per day using fluoride-based toothpaste and by flossing to remove plaque from in-between teeth. Additional steps that parents can take to help their children avoid tooth sensitivity include
- Limiting the number of acidic foods and drinks your child consumes
- Encouraging your child to avoid grinding their teeth
- Ensuring that they are using a soft-bristled toothbrush when brushing
- Scheduling regular dental checkups with an expert dentist
- Drinking water after consuming foods or beverages with high acidity
Of course, convincing your child to give up their favorite juices or carbonated beverages is no easy task for any parent. To reduce the risk of tooth sensitivity, parents should insist that their children consume these beverages using a straw, which can minimize the acidity that could otherwise damage tooth enamel. Similar precautions can be taken to prevent children from grinding their teeth while sleeping. For example, parents can speak with their children’s dentist about recommending a dental mouth guard. These are dental appliances that are designed to cover the teeth. And can help minimize jaw clenching along with tooth grinding while sleeping.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CONSIDER TAKING YOUR LITTLE ONE TO THE DENTIST?
In most cases, proper brushing, flossing, and use of a mouth guard are more than enough to circumvent tooth sensitivity. The same can said for limiting foods and beverages that have high acidity. However, if your little one is still in pain, it may be a good idea to schedule a visit with an expert dentist who can evaluate their oral health. After all, dental pain is usually indicative of problems with the teeth or gums that should be addressed sooner rather than later.
WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT WHEN VISITING THE DENTIST?
The first step in addressing what may be contributing to your little one’s tooth sensitivity will involve a standard x-ray to identify what may be causing the problem. For example, the x-ray may reveal that your little one has a cavity that intensifies when it comes in contact with hot or cold food and beverages.
Additionally, these exams can determine if the root of the tooth has become exposed. Or if the tooth has lost a large amount of enamel. The reasons for tooth sensitivity can be varied. X-rays can help either pinpoint issues that may be contributing to sensitivity problems or rule them out entirely. That aside, some of the more common treatments include
- Fluoride treatments – This approach involves applying fluoride directly to the tooth, which, in turn, minimizes pain while also strengthening the enamel. The dental practitioner may also recommend that parents guide their children in performing home-based fluoride treatments as well.
- Desensitizing toothpaste – Over-the-counter specialty toothpaste like Sensodyne can help resolve tooth sensitivity that stems from receding gums. Although rare, it is entirely possible for young children to experience gum problems. Once the dentist can rule out of other dental problems that may be causing sensitivity problems. He or she will recommend these types of toothpaste as a means of providing pain relief.
- Gum grafts – If tooth sensitivity is correlated with receding gums, the dentist may recommend a surgical gum graft. The procedure entails transplanting gum tissue from one area of the patient’s mouth and moving it to another area. One that has less gum tissue and is causing the root of the tooth to become exposed.
- Root canal – Generally considered a last resort, a root canal can resolve tooth pain by removing the pulp of the tooth before fitting it with a dental crown. Although this procedure may sound extreme, it is quite common. Also, it is just as effective in resolving tooth sensitivity in children as it is for adults.
- Bonding – Depending on the severity of the tooth sensitivity, the dentist may recommend bonding. This procedure is one whereby the dentist will apply a dental resin that will bond to the areas of the tooth that is causing sensitivity problems.
LET US PROTECT YOUR TEETH
Although the reasons for why teeth become sensitive can vary, there are a variety of treatments that can help alleviate the painful sensation that comes with having this type of dental problem. If you or your little one is experiencing tooth sensitivity, consider trying some of the at-home treatments detailed in this article. Of course, if the pain continues to persist, it would be a good idea to schedule a visit with Dr. Engel as soon as possible. Sensitive teeth can be sorted with us.
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400 Kinderkamack Rd.
Oradell, NJ 07649
The Superhero Guide to [Beating Sensitive Teeth]
Dr Engel holds a speciality license in pediatric dentistry from New Jersey and New York. He also has attained sedation certification, which allows for in-office oral sedation options, and he’s on staff at Hackensack University Medical Center. As an attending pediatric dentist at HUMC, Dr Engel retains operating room privileges, allowing for an array of treatment modalities and anaesthesia options.