10th February 2023 4 Minutes read time

Can’t sleep because of extreme tooth pain?

Many of us have experienced tooth pain from one time or another and often the symptoms can feel worse at night. Unfortunately, most people cannot visit their dentist in the evening so are left to suffer until the morning. 

We have a few handy tips to help ease your tooth pain during the night, what may be the cause of your tooth pain and what the next steps should be in the morning to fully treat your problem.

How to get to sleep with toothache

To help relieve your symptoms until morning (and you can book an appointment with your dentist), we recommend the following as examples of short-term remedies:

Elevate your head

As lying on the side of your face can cause further irritation and a throbbing sensation, elevating your head can help and cause less blood to rush to your head. 

Apply a cold compress

If you find your face is swelling from a suspected infection, you can use a cold compress to help numb the pain and reduce swelling.

Take over-the-counter medication

Medications, such as Ibuprofen, can help with short-term inflammatory pain. However, be sure to check with a doctor and follow the dosage instructions on the packet.

Brush your teeth if you have eaten at night

Forgetting to brush your teeth can often cause toothache due to a buildup of plaque on the surface of your teeth or food being trapped in the small gaps between your teeth. Make sure you thoroughly clean your teeth before you go to bed to prevent potential tooth pain during the night. 

Wear a mouthguard if you grind your teeth

If you already have toothache, grinding your teeth can make the pain even worse. Wearing a mouthguard can help stop grinding, prevent friction to ease your pain and help you get to sleep.

Why does toothache hurt more at night?

Tired after sleepless night from tooth pain, young woman sitting in bed with head resting on hands.

The body’s natural painkillers are usually released throughout the day, not whilst we are sleeping. They are not as active during the night which can make pain feel worse than when compared to the daytime.

Lying down can put more pressure on your teeth and cause blood to rush to your head, causing a dull ache.. Lying on your side can also push your teeth against your mouth which will also worsen the pain. 

Less saliva is produced at night, one reason being because the body produces saliva when food is present in the mouth. As you are not eating during your sleep, your mouth can become dry which can often aggravate your tooth pain.

Tooth pain can also be more noticeable at night because we do not have any distractions with work or activities. There is nothing to take our mind off the pain and therefore it feels heightened. 

What causes toothache?

There are many causes of toothache. Some of the main culprits include:

Gum disease – This is an infection of the gum that is caused by an excess of plaque which builds up on the surface and in the little gaps between your teeth. Your gums will be red, swollen and may bleed when you brush them. To completely remove plaque, you need to ensure you are flossing every day to prevent build up and keeping up with your dental hygiene routine.

Cavities – These erode the enamel on your teeth which can cause pain. They can be caused by drinking too many sugary drinks and not cleaning your teeth well enough, causing tooth decay. The common symptoms include sensitive teeth, discoloured teeth, visible holes in the teeth and general toothache.

A dental abscess – This is a build-up of pus in the teeth or gums caused by an infection. These can be caused by tooth decay, gum disease or an injury to your mouth. Symptoms of a dental abscess can include severe toothache, swelling in the face, fever, difficulty swallowing, loose teeth and a foul taste in the mouth.

Sinus infection – Toothache is a common symptom of a sinus infection. If you feel pain in your upper molars and not one singular tooth, it could be due to your sinuses. Elevating your head when you are lying on your side can alleviate some of the discomfort associated with sinus congestions. 

Knocked teeth – An incident may cause injury to the surrounding tissue of your teeth, which can cause tooth pain. Inflammation may irritate the nerves or surrounding periodontal tissue. To reduce swelling, you should rinse your mouth out with warm water to help clean the area. 

Book an appointment with your dentist in the morning

Remember, these remedies will not cure the root cause of your tooth pain, they will only help to alleviate the symptoms. If you have had a toothache in the night, you should book an emergency appointment with your dentist in the morning. 

Need to book an emergency appointment with us?

Beautiful young woman having emergency dental treatment at dentist's office.

To book an emergency appointment at The Barn Dental Clinic, all you need to do is call our practice in the morning. If you can’t get through to our practice and require emergency dental care, you can call our emergency dental number 07895067198. Leave a message with the details of your symptoms and we will get back to you ASAP to schedule you an appointment.

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