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What Causes Toothache at Night?

What Causes Toothache at Night?

The discomfort of having a toothache at night can cause you to lose precious sleep, which can be miserable. Although often caused by tooth decay, dental injury, and sinus infections, there are many reasons you may be experiencing tooth pain during the late hours. If you’re missing out on restful sleep, it’s important to contact a qualified dentist like Dr. Krongold at Hawthorn Road Family Dental Clinic to get to the root of the problem.

Identifying Typical Toothache Symptoms

Before we jump ahead into the many causes and short-term treatments available for tooth pain at night, it’s important to figure out if you’re experiencing a toothache. Some of the most common symptoms of toothaches include:

  • Throbbing, sharp, or consistent pain
  • Unusual swelling around a tooth
  • Headaches and fever
  • Unpleasant-tasting drainage from an abscess or infection
  • Sudden tooth sensitivity

Many other issues may mimic the symptoms of a toothache and cause discomfort. Sinus pressure, ear infections, and disorders of the jaw can also cause your teeth to hurt. No matter the reason for your nighttime toothache, it’s always important to seek the advice of a dental or medical professional before beginning any sort of at-home treatment.

Common Causes of Toothache at Night

Pain is your body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong, and toothaches are no different. Many underlying causes could be the source of your discomfort, whether it occurs during the day or at night. Some of those issues include:

  • Mouth or jaw injury: Accidents, falls, and sports injuries are common causes of toothaches. Due to the relaxation of muscles, this kind of trauma can cause pain that worsens at night. Don’t forget to let your dentist know if you’ve recently experienced an injury.
  • Sinus infection: Sinus infections are another common culprit for nighttime toothaches. Since your sinuses and your upper teeth share the same nerve pathway, the pressure from the sinus infection can cause your teeth to hurt. It’s often recognisable because of the sensitivity that’s caused when eating or drinking.
  • Tooth decay: As the leading cause of toothaches and tooth loss, tooth decay is often to blame for experiencing pain and discomfort at night. As you lie down to sleep, the change in blood flow can cause pressure to be placed on the decayed tooth. You can avoid this type of toothache by practising good oral hygiene at home and scheduling regular check-ups with Hawthorn Road Family Dental Clinic.
  • Filling damage: If fillings become damaged or lost, it can leave the most sensitive parts of your tooth exposed. If you fall into this category, it’s important to seek prompt dental care to avoid further damage.
  • Dental abscess: Often described by patients as an intense, relentless pain, dental abscesses occur when an infection forms at a tooth’s root or between the gums and teeth. Time is of the essence for treating dental abscesses. You may need immediate intervention to save your natural tooth.
  • Stuck food: Even if you brush and floss diligently, food can become stuck between your teeth or in a cavity and cause a lot of discomfort. If you’ve tried dislodging the food particles but you’re not having any luck, make sure to contact your dentist. Stuck food can quickly calcify and cause tooth decay.
  • Wisdom teeth erupting: When wisdom teeth or third molars start to erupt, they can cause toothaches. Stemming from limited jaw space and overcrowding, the arrival of wisdom teeth in the mid-20s is often accompanied by infections and shifting teeth. Any symptoms of erupting wisdom teeth should be promptly treated to avoid costly orthodontic treatments later down the line.
  • TMJ: TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder is another common cause of late-night tooth pain. The related jaw stiffness can create toothaches in the surrounding teeth, and several issues ranging from headaches to difficulty chewing. Dr. Krongold is experienced in the treatment of TMJ disorder and should be notified of any jaw discomfort you are feeling.
  • Gum disease: Periodontal disease, or gum disease, causes redness, swelling, and infection of the gums. If left untreated, it can lead to complex dental issues, such as decay and tooth loss. It’s important to address any symptoms of gum disease right away, as it can quickly become quite serious.
  • Grinding: Bruxism, or tooth grinding, can do more than just wear down your teeth — it can lead to several painful issues. As pressure is placed on the teeth, pain is often the result. Wearing a mouth guard for teeth grinding can help you protect your teeth and avoid extensive dental treatments.

Why Does My Tooth Ache More At Night?

There are perfectly good reasons that you may be experiencing a rise in the intensity of your tooth pain later at night. Some of them include:

  • An increase of blood flow to the dental cavity as you are in the sleeping position.
  • A heightened awareness of your toothache because of a lack of mental stimulation at night.
  • Late-night meals can leave behind debris, acids, and sugars that cause discomfort.

How to Get Rid of Toothache at Night

Are you up late searching the Internet for a way to stop your nighttime toothache before your next dental appointment? Many solutions may give you the temporary relief that you’re seeking. We recommend:

  • Avoid certain foods before bed: Consider limiting your intake of acidic, sugary, or cold foods at night. While colder foods might increase your sensitivity, foods that are acidic or sugary feed the bacteria that can cause plaque buildup. By avoiding foods that promote this bacterial growth, you can help decrease the possibility of toothaches at night.
  • Rinse with mouthwash after brushing your teeth: Think of mouthwash as your backup defence system. After you finish brushing for the night, use a mouthwash to eliminate bacteria and food particles that could lead to tooth decay. Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash can also help strengthen your teeth’s enamel — especially those tiny crevices and impossible-to-reach places.
  • Consider taking Ibuprofen to ease your toothache: Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter pain reliever in the NSAID family, which means that it also has an anti-inflammatory property. When taken as directed, it can help reduce the pain and swelling often accompanying nighttime toothaches.
  • Apply a cold compress to your jaw: One of the easiest ways to relieve tooth pain is through the use of cold compresses. The temperature of the compress can help to reduce swelling and temporarily ease the pain until you can visit your dentist.
  • Keep your head elevated: When you put your head on the pillow, you change the blood flow to your oral cavity. If you’re experiencing toothaches at night, try to keep your head slightly elevated. It can help to reduce the pressure on the area of the affected tooth.

When to See a Dentist for Tooth Pain

Even if temporary measures are effective at treating your toothache at night or your pain level decreases, make sure you don’t brush off the pain. Regardless of the frequency or intensity of your nighttime tooth pain, it’s important to see a qualified dental provider as soon as you can. Leaving any type of tooth pain unaddressed can lead to more pain and extensive procedures down the line.

Make sure to see your dentist immediately if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe tooth, jaw, or gum pain
  • Tooth or related pain that persists for two or more days
  • Fever or headache
  • Pain when opening your mouth
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Swelling of the face or jaw

If you’re experiencing toothaches at night, there are several ways your dentist can help. After an initial assessment and evaluation, Hawthorn Road Family Dental Clinic will discuss your treatment options. Whether you need a night guard for tooth grinding or a dental filling to combat tooth decay, we will help you make an informed decision about the best way for you to get a peaceful night’s sleep while bettering your overall dental health.

Are you ready to say goodbye to nighttime toothaches for good? Contact Hawthorn Road Family Dental Clinic in Caulfield today.

Dr. Mahima Krongold

Dr. Mahima Krongold

Dr Krongold has been practicing dentistry for over twenty years. She has background experience dealing with a diverse range of dental issues, which vary significantly from individual to individual. Her experience has been built upon by her endless thirst for practical and technological advancement in the field of crowns, implants, bridge work, root canals, endodontics, teeth whitening and cosmetic work. Dr Krongold is a family dentist with three children. Children's dentistry is a specialised area for her, particularly encompassing oral hygiene and dental comfort.

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