What Does Tooth Pain Mean for Children

Babies and young children experience tooth pain as their teeth form in their gums and break through the surface. As children grow, their teeth continue to irritate their mouths as more emerge and others move to make space. While you accept this type of pain in your child as a normal part of growth and development, pay attention to new complaints of sharp pain and dull aches in the mouth. Your child may require a dental checkup or other interventions if certain problems arise with their smile.

Common Sources of Childhood Tooth Pain

Braces: If your child wears braces or a dental appliance, he may experience pain, especially following a visit to the dentist or orthodontist. In most cases, this pain comes from a tightening of the wires or a placement of new rubber bands. If the pain subsides in a few days, don’t worry about it. However, if the pain continues or becomes worse, contact your dentist or orthodontist for a check on those braces.

Habits: Your child may have a physical habit that causes tooth pain. Does she crunch ice or chew on a hard toy or pencil regularly? Help her to break the habit with reminders and a reward system. Does she grind her teeth at night or clench her jaw? Experts report that two out of every three kids grind or clench their teeth at night. Dental professionals call this condition bruxism. Observe your child while she is sleeping. If you hear grinding and your child is complaining of tooth pain while chewing, make an appointment with your dentist to inquire about a bruxism guard to halt the grinding.

You can learn about more potential dental pain causes in children when you read Thursday’s blog on the same topic.


Dr. Brent Engelberg proudly serves patients and their families from Arlington Heights, IL, and all surrounding communities, including; Northbrook, Deerfield, Highland Park, Wilmette, Winnetka, Glencoe, Vernon Hills, Lincolnshire, Libertyville, Skokie, Evanston, Palatine, Schaumburg, Elk Grove Village, Rolling Meadows, and the Northern and Northwest Chicago Suburbs. To learn more, schedule a consultation online, or call our office today.