Why Does Your Child Keep Saying Their Teeth Feel Sensitive?

Posted on: 12 May 2023


Complaints of excessive sensitivity in a young child's teeth can be nothing short of alarming for a parent. You'll no doubt closely inspect their teeth yourself—looking for evidence such as untreated cavities or other obvious decay. But despite the apparent lack of a cause, your child's seemingly healthy baby teeth continue to be excessively sensitive. It could be that their teeth lack an essential layer of protection.

Dental Enamel and Baby Teeth

The outermost layer of your teeth is made of dental enamel. Many parts of oral hygiene are dedicated to protecting this enamel since this enamel protects your oral health. Tooth decay begins with the corrosion of this enamel, which (without treatment) will spread deeper into the tooth, ultimately affecting its nerve. The enamel coating of baby teeth is typically thinner than an adult's enamel, but this doesn't explain your child's dental recurring sensitivity.

Irregular Enamel Formation

Hypo-mineralization is a term that describes irregular enamel formation in teeth. It's not necessarily the complete absence of dental enamel, but the enamel that did form may be thinner than average, and missing in places. This allows sensitivity-inducing foods and drinks (such as something acidic, or especially hot or cold) to be registered by the inner sections of the tooth—namely its nerve. 

The Beginning of the Problem

Your child's hypo-mineralized teeth may not only be excessively sensitive; the irregular nature of their enamel can also make their teeth more vulnerable to decay. In short, these bouts of sensitivity may only be the beginning of the problem. To manage this problem, which in turn manages your child's dental sensitivity, you'll need to schedule a checkup with your family's pediatric dentist.

Formulating a Strategy

Once hypo-mineralization has been confirmed, your child's dentist can formulate a strategy. There may need to be some dietary changes at home—minimizing consumption of problematic foods and drinks, and some modifications to your child's oral hygiene plan. More frequent checkups may be suggested (to identify decay as soon as possible), and your child may need more regular fluoride treatments to help fortify their teeth. Other options are possible, such as transparent dental sealant to create an artificial layer of protection for your child's teeth. 

Excessively sensitive teeth aren't something that an adult or a child simply needs to live with, and effective treatment is available. Be sure to schedule a consultation with your family's pediatric dentist if your child regularly complains about dental sensitivity.