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How to Identify and Treat Tooth Nerve Pain in Children

How to Identify and Treat Tooth Nerve Pain in Children

Could it be a cavity? How about an infection? Could they have bumped their jaws? 

As a concerned parent, you could be thinking a million things, but the good news is that the source of your child’s mouth pain can be reduced to a finite number of possibilities. One of the most uncomfortable and painful oral pains in children is your common toothache.

Toothaches have one root cause: tooth nerve pain. And it’s vital to know how to identify tooth nerve pain in order to treat it accordingly, especially with children who sometimes don’t know how to adequately put their pain into words.

Causes of Tooth Nerve Pain


  • Tooth decay

This can manifest itself in a number of ways. Tooth decay can begin with something as subtle as the weakening of the tooth enamel, which is the smooth surface of the teeth. The degradation of this outer layer can cause tooth sensitivity, a kind of nerve pain.  Cavities, which are holes in your teeth, ranging from holes in the enamel to decay in the root of the tooth (rare in children), can disturb the nerves for obvious reasons. 

  • Receding gum lines

Although less common in children, receding gum lines can still occur. If you see that the base of your child’s tooth is slightly uncovered, that could be the reason why your child is experiencing tooth nerve pain, as their nerve endings are essentially exposed. 

Why does gum recession sometimes affect children? Among the most prevalent reasons are:

  • Aggressive brushing.
  • Inadequate dental care, which may create tartar that can recede the gums.
  • Cracked, chipped, or broken teeth 

Tooth fractures can cause nerve tooth pain in children because they can lead to pulp sensitivity. Each tooth contains a pulp on the inside that’s full of nerves and blood vessels.

  • Tooth fillings 

As safe as tooth fillings are, they can also affect the pulp on the inside of the tooth. If it’s a new filling, give it a few weeks and see how you or your child feels. The sensitivity should decline over time. If a filling is still bugging you or your child after that, schedule another appointment with your dentist.

  • Tooth infections

Check to see if your child has red or swollen gums near the teeth where they are experiencing pain. These visible signs could be symptoms of infection. If tooth nerve pain is left untreated, infections can also hurt the pulp inside of your child’s teeth. 

In rare cases, whether caused by a filling or inflammation, some 

children can even develop pulpitis. This is an inflammation of the pulp that can cause

Severe tooth nerve pain.  

  • Grinding or clenching teeth 

Doing this can wear down tooth enamel, which can expose the nerves or pulp of the teeth over time.

  • Tooth removals 

Tooth removals, whether through extraction or losing a tooth by accident, can sometimes damage surrounding nerves.

Preventing Tooth Nerve Pain in Kids

Along with routine teeth cleanings every six months at your dentist’s office, good oral hygiene at home is the best way to prevent your children from experiencing tooth nerve pain. 

During your child’s cleaning, dental hygienists remove tartar, which is the result of plaque build-up, the leading cause of gum diseases. Typically, after you’re seen by the hygienist, the dentist makes sure your child’s teeth are free of cavities and are supported by healthy gums.

At home, your kid’s teeth should be brushed twice a day, once in the morning and once before bedtime. Also, flossing once a day, either in the morning or at night, is indispensable, as a lot of the plaque is often unreachable by toothbrush bristles. 

Depending on their age, your children can also complement their oral care routine with dentist-approved mouthwash. 

Tooth Nerve Pain Treatment for Children

Booking an appointment with the dentist can take some time, although some dental clinics do offer same-day appointments. But even if you do manage to get a same-day appointment, you still want to treat your child’s tooth nerve pain at home in the meantime. 

Some of the ways you can treat your child’s tooth nerve pain are:

  • Warm salt water swish

This old remedy helps with removing any food particles that could be pressuring the tooth nerves. It’s also a natural disinfectant.

  • Pain-relievers

Dentists recommend acetaminophen for children.  

  • Gels and liquids

These anesthetics are effective for short-term relief from pain. They are to be applied along the teeth and gums.

Given the information above, if you find that your child is experiencing tooth nerve pain, it’s best to make a same-day appointment. At Children’s Dentistry of Las Vegas, we have ten convenient offices in the Greater Las Vegas area. Our offices specialize in pediatric sedation dentistry for all children and adolescents, including those with special needs.

Our child-friendly atmosphere is the ideal place for your children to receive preventative and restorative care. If your family lives in the Las Vegas area, contact us today.