Toothache at night: Why my dental pain hurts more at night?

After a busy day, everybody loves to have a relaxing time during which nobody can disturb. The best option is to lie down and have a peaceful sleep. But what if your fantastic plan is ruined by a throbbing toothache that appears only at night? You would like to search for some remedies, but before that, it is wise to know the causes to avoid the chances of toothache at night.

It’s important to see a dentist if you are dealing with toothaches. Only your dentist can properly diagnose and treat you. Your dentist will be able to get to the root of the problem so you can finally live pain-free.

Causes of dental pain at night

Painful toothaches can disrupt a person’s life. But what if you have a toothache only at night? Having nightly pain can indicate a dental problem. Below, we will explain the most common causes of a toothache only at night. If you think you have any of these conditions, then talk to your dentist. The most common causes for nocturnal toothaches are:

Causes of dental pain

Tooth Decay

tooth decay is the number one cause of dental pain. Tooth decay, or cavities, takes the form of holes in a tooth’s enamel. Tooth decay is most commonly caused by:

  • Infrequent or inadequate brushing
  • Excessive consumption of sugary foods
  • Infrequent dental checkups and cleanings
  • Deficiencies of vitamin D or calcium

If you think you are suffering from tooth decay, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. The longer you put off a dental visit, the worse the decay will become.

Tooth Damage

Physical damage from trauma or pressure can also lead to toothaches. Patients complaining of dental pain often have cracked or broken teeth that they are not aware of.

Sometimes cracks start small and grow worse over time. Patients often incur this kind of damage while eating and don’t feel painful until later.

Another common form of tooth damage is the gradual erosion of enamel that can occur as a result of tooth grinding. Many people unknowingly grind their teeth while asleep, and some grind their teeth while awake during moments of tension.

Mouth guards can prevent grinding damage, but if the damage has already occurred, it’s important to consult a dentist, as your teeth will not heal on their own.

Gum Inflammation or Infection

The American Dental Association recommends that people should floss at least once every day. Inadequate flossing causes gum inflammation which, left untreated, can lead to infections.

The pain caused by inflammation or infection can often be confused with tooth pain, so diagnosis by a dentist is critical in order to determine the correct treatment.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth can create pain at any age, which is why it is common practice to have them removed during adolescence. If a person with wisdom teeth is experiencing mystery tooth pain, it may be caused by shifting wisdom teeth. This pain can occur whether or not a patient’s wisdom teeth are above the gum line.

Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can also cause toothaches. Most people with sensitive teeth experience tenderness after mealtimes. Are you eating late meals or bedtime snacks? This might be the cause of your nightly tooth problems. Try eating earlier in the evening and see if you feel relief.

TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorders usually cause pain at all times of the day. However, busy people might not notice the pain until nighttime. If you cannot determine the cause of your toothaches, then you might have a TMJ problem. Ask your dentist for more information on this common jaw issue.

You are free of distractions

If a toothache only appears at night, it may be that your tooth hurts throughout the day but you don’t notice it because you’re distracted by daily activities. This is usually the case with mild toothaches as the pain becomes more intensely felt once you lie down and have nothing else to think about.

What you’re eating at night

Eating cold, hot, acidic, or high-sugar foods at night may make your teeth sore or extra sensitive, especially if your teeth are already damaged by early cavities or gum disease. If you have gum disease, food may become stuck in the pockets of your gums and cause minor swelling and irritation.

eating at night

Do you like sugary foods? So do the plaque on your teeth. Plaque is an invisible film of bacteria that lives on the surface of your teeth and gums. This bacteria weakens teeth by eating sugar and producing cavity-causing acid.

If you eat late night snacks, it’s important you remember to brush your teeth afterwards. Otherwise, the sugar will sit on your teeth until morning. People who neglect oral hygiene are more likely to develop tooth decay and gum disease.

Sinus Infection

A toothache doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to see your Las Vegas dentist: it can be a sinus infection causing the pain in your tooth, especially if the upper rear teeth are affected. Pain in your upper teeth is a common sign of sinus problems as the pressure and inflammation in the sinuses puts pressure on nearby teeth.

More blood circulation

When you lie down to sleep, more blood is able to rush to your brain. More blood circulation means experiencing more tooth pain than if you were standing. This is because the increased blood flow exerts pressure on the painful tooth.

blood circulation for toothache

Other Health Issues

Nighttime tooth pain can also indicate that there is another less common health issue at play. Only a trained professional can determine whether or not this is the case, so it’s always best to visit a dentist to rule out all other potential issues before visiting a general practitioner to search for non-dental causes.

How to get rid of a toothache at night?

A toothache is a painful annoyance, especially at night. Getting a toothache at night can make falling asleep or staying asleep very difficult. However, there are a number of remedies that may help people find relief and get to sleep, including taking pain relievers or applying a cold compress or even cloves to the tooth. In this article, learn more about nine home remedies for relieving a toothache at night.

get rid of a toothache

Treating a toothache at night may be more difficult, as there is not much to distract a person from the pain. However, people can try the following methods to relieve pain:

Oral pain medication

Taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) is a quick, simple way for many people to effectively reduce mild-to-moderate toothaches.

Always stay within the recommended dosage on the packaging. If the toothache is severe, it is best to see a dentist and speak to them about stronger pain relievers.

Cold compress

Using a cold compress may help ease the pain of a toothache. Applying a bag of ice wrapped in a towel to the affected side of the face or jaw helps constrict the blood vessels in the area, which can reduce pain to allow a person to fall asleep.

Applying a cold compress to the area for 15–20 minutes every few hours in the evening may also help prevent pain when going to bed.

Elevation

Pooling blood in the head may cause additional pain and inflammation. For some people, elevating the head with an extra pillow or two may relieve the pain enough for them to fall asleep.

Medicated ointments

Some medicated ointments may also help reduce toothache pain. OTC numbing gels and ointments that contain ingredients such as benzocaine may numb the area.

However, benzocaine is not suitable for use by young children.

Salt water rinse

A simple salt water rinse is a common home remedy for a toothache. Salt water is a natural antibacterial agent, so it may reduce inflammation. This, in turn, helps protect damaged teeth from infection.

Salt water for avoiding toothache

Rinsing with salt water may also help remove any food particles or debris stuck in the teeth or gums.

Hydrogen peroxide rinse

Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that generally occurs as a result of poor oral hygiene. It can cause issues such as soreness, bleeding gums, and teeth that come loose in their sockets.

The author of a  study found that rinsing with hydrogen peroxide mouthwash helped reduce plaque and symptoms of periodontitis. People should always dilute food-grade hydrogen peroxide with equal parts water. Swish the solution in the mouth, but do not swallow it. This remedy is not suitable for children, as there is a risk they may accidentally swallow the mixture.

Peppermint tea

Swishing peppermint tea or sucking on peppermint tea bags may also help temporarily relieve pain from a toothache.

Researchers note that peppermint contains antibacterial and antioxidant compounds. Menthol, an active ingredient in peppermint, may also have a mild numbing effect on sensitive areas.

Clove

Eugenol, which is one of the main compounds in cloves, can reduce tooth pain. The results of a clinical trial indicated that people who applied eugenol to their gums and socket after having a tooth extracted had less pain and inflammation during healing.

Clove to avoid toothache

Eugenol acts as an analgesic, which means that it numbs the area. To use clove for a toothache, soak ground cloves in water to make a paste. Then, apply the paste to the tooth, or put it in an empty tea bag and place it in the mouth.

Alternatively, gently chewing or sucking on a single clove and then allowing it to sit near the painful tooth may help relieve pain. This is not a suitable remedy for children, as they may swallow too much clove. Single cloves can be spiky and painful if a person swallows them.

Garlic

Garlic is a common household ingredient that some people use to relieve toothache pain.

Garlic to avoid toothache

Allicin, which is the main compound in garlic, has a strong antibacterial effect that may help kill the bacteria in the mouth that lead to cavities and tooth pain.

Simply chewing a clove of garlic and allowing it to sit near the tooth may help relieve pain. That said, the taste of raw garlic can be too strong for some people, so this may not be the right solution for everyone.

When to see a dentist?

People with a toothache at night should see a dentist as soon as possible. Any home remedies are only for temporary relief.

see a dentist to avoid toothache

If the toothache also comes with other signs of an infection, a person may need antibiotics to clear out the infection. When a cracked or decaying tooth is causing the pain, a person should see their dentist. They will be able to find a permanent solution.

Ignoring the signs of tooth decay, such as an aching tooth, may lead to more serious issues, including abscesses, gum disease, and tooth loss. The longer you ignore a toothache, the more serious the problem will become. For example, seeing dentist early can mean the difference between needing a small filling and a root canal.