Does Your Tooth Always Hurt at Night? These Might Be the Reasons Why
A toothache is characterized by pain or soreness in or around a tooth. This may cause mild to moderate sensitivity, making it difficult for you to eat, drink or sleep. A toothache is a common dental problem that can affect anyone at any one time. However, if you experience sudden, extreme tooth pain at night, you need to be aware of its causes and how to treat it.
Why Is Tooth Pain Worse at Night?
Here are some reasons for nighttime tooth pain:
1. More Blood Circulation
When you lie down on a flat pillow or surface, more blood rushes to your head, which can exert pressure on your mouth, exacerbating the tooth pain. Therefore, sometimes, you won’t experience the same throbbing or sharp pain while standing or sitting.
2. Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding stresses the gums, jaws, and teeth, so people who grind teeth at night may experience pain. Moreover, teeth grinding can result in enamel erosion, headache, tooth fracture, and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder. The easiest “fix” for tooth grinding is a custom-made night splint or guard. While this typically doesn’t stop the grinding, it will lessen damages to your teeth and gums and make you more comfortable for sound sleep.
3. Late-night Meals
If you have had sugary foods or drinks at night, make sure to brush your teeth before going to bed. Otherwise, the bacteria (plaque) in your mouth will thrive on the leftover food particles, increasing your tooth pain. Food and drink create an acidic environment that bacteria love and need to cause damage!
What If Your Tooth Hurts When You Wake up in the Morning?
You may also experience tooth pain in the morning due to:
1. Sinus Infection
A sinus infection can lead to fluid accumulation above your teeth, causing pain from pressure in your sinus cavity in your upper back molars. Typically, if the pain is only on one side of your face, it is less likely to be a sinus issue or infection.
2. Cavities (Tooth Decay)
Untreated cavities can damage the tooth pulp (where the nerves and blood vessels are located), causing intense or sharp pain. Small cavities do not hurt; that is how decay can get very deep before you have any symptoms that demand care.
3. Impacted Tooth
Partially or fully impacted teeth can cause tooth pain and swollen gums. This is most common around 3rd molars or “wisdom teeth.” In fact, it is so common that we have a specific name for it called pericoronitis. If you have a mild infection from pericoronitis, your body may clear it. However, you will need the help of antibiotics, and you also need to have this tooth removed so that the infection will not return.
4. TMJ Disorder
Inflamed or irritated temporomandibular joint (connecting your jawbone to the skull on either side of your face) can cause tooth pain.
5. Tooth Abscess
A tooth abscess (a pocket of pus) occurring in the tooth’s root or gum can cause throbbing or intense tooth pain. You will need this tooth treated with a root canal or removed to get rid of this source of infection.
6. Gum Diseases
Gingivitis and periodontitis can cause tooth pain when plaque accumulates in the gum. Usually, your diagnosis by this time is moderate to severe periodontitis. Gum disease never hurts in the initial stages and gives no indication to get it treated sooner. At least two examinations every year are needed to prevent extensive damage and treat issues in the early stages.
What Can You Do to Make the Tooth Pain Go Away?
Nothing is worse than experiencing persistent tooth pain at night. However, you can get rid of it and enjoy a peaceful sleep with these simple home remedies, as mentioned below. Always have a thorough dental examination to rule out needing dental care. A tooth infection can become very serious and life-threatening. Once the nerve in a tooth has been infected with bacteria, no home remedy will treat this tooth, and you will need professional dental care. Further, any swelling in the mouth requires urgent professional help.
- Change Sleeping Positions: Sleeping with your head elevated on a heightened pillow can prevent pressure resulting from blood flow into the mouth, thus decreasing the intensity of the pain.
- Clove Oil: Clove oil has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Soak a cotton ball in clove oil and place it on the affected area until the pain recedes. You can also chew the clove for 20-30 minutes until the pain subsides.
- Saltwater Rinse: If you experience tooth pain from infected or swollen gums, rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater solution can be very soothing; repeat this often, about 5-6 times a day (a teaspoon of salt for 8 oz of water). This will help clean wounds or infection sites, thus reducing pain.
- Cold Compress: Apply an ice pack or cold compress on the affected side of the face or jaw for 10-15 minutes on and then 10-15 minutes off again; repeat as it may help ease the pain.
- Follow Good Oral Hygiene: Make sure to brush (with fluoride toothpaste) and floss at least twice a day, especially before bed, as together they can help clean the trapped food particles that can contribute to pain.
These home remedies can only provide temporary relief, and you need to be evaluated by an experienced dentist. Relay to your dentist your symptoms so that you do not have to wait long to be seen and are given an emergency visit for evaluation.
If you are looking for a reputable and experienced dentist in Scottsdale, Arizona, for treating your toothache and all your dental needs, contact us today at Smile Arizona Dentistry!