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How To Get Rid Of A Toothache At Night

Toothaches are likely to affect everyone at some stage in their lives.

The pain can come in varying degrees, ranging from a dull throb to a sharp and severe stabbing pain.

No matter what level of pain your toothache is causing it can be very distressing.

A toothache at night, where it affects your ability to sleep, can be a worrying and horrible experience.


When should I go to the dentist?

If a toothache lasts longer than 1 or 2 days then we recommend you seek a dentist as it is likely to only get worse.

A toothache is not a problem you can just ignore or self medicate yourself.

If you are suffering from tooth pain contact us here or book an appointment online.

If you have any other helpful tips feel free to leave a comment below. And don’t forget to share this post so you can help other toothache sufferers too!


Why does my toothache get worse at night?

There are several reasons why your toothache might get worse at night

You could have aggravated your teeth after eating dinner or a late night meal. Especially if you haven’t brushed there is potential for some food to still be stuck in between your teeth or gums causing aggravation.

You might have been suffering from a toothache during the day, but due to the everyday distractions of life you might not have been as aware of it. Sometimes it can take sitting down to relax at night for you to notice just how painful your teeth really are.

Another cause for late night toothaches can be due to grinding your teeth when stressed throughout the day. In turn this will have caused strain on your jaw resulting in pain at night. If you think you might be doing this, check out our article Can Stress Relief Help Prevent TMD?

The other reason, and probably the main reason why it gets worse at night for most, is due to blood flow when you lie down. When you lay down horizontally all the blood flows towards your head and face and therefore can cause pressure on the sensitive areas where your toothache is. This can cause that throbbing sensation that a toothache might give.


What are the most common causes of toothaches at night?

Not all toothaches are the same. They have different types of pain and different types of causes. The only way to attempt to tackle a toothache is to first figure out the cause.

Here are some of the most common toothaches:


Cavities are one of the most common causes for toothache. A cavity is basically a hole forming in your tooth due to tooth decay from poor oral care, or a bad diet.
The pain can range from mild to sharp and can also cause tooth sensitivity.

Periodontal Disease

This is the infection of the supporting structures surrounding your teeth, most commonly your gums. The cause is the bacteria in plaque, so without practicing good oral care the plaque will build up and the bacteria will spread to the gums.
The results of this gum infection can be swelling, reddening and tenderness of the gums. Along with bleeding and possible signs of erosion e.g pus.


A cracked, broken or chipped tooth from a trauma can cause mild to severe tooth pain depending on how bad the damage is. If you cannot see the crack then the symptoms could be pain from chewing or pain when exposed to hot or cold extremes.

Sinusitis, ear infection etc.

Toothaches from sinus infections are due to the pressure that builds up just above your molar teeth roots. Pressure is put on the dental nerve endings and causes your teeth to be sore, along with your jaw and side of your face.

Tooth Nerve Pain aka Pulpitis

If your tooth pain is severe and gets much worse at night then there is a chance you are suffering from pulpitis.

Pulpitis occurs when tooth decay and infection spreads past the outer layers of the tooth, infecting the pulp – which consists of nerves and blood vessels.
The infected pulp then becomes inflamed, swelling and causing pressure to build up within the root canal inside the tooth. This compresses the nerves and blood vessels which causes severe and sharp throbbing pain through the tooth.

Pulpitis needs to be treated by a dentist as soon as possible.


I can’t get to the dentist tonight, what should I do?

If it is the middle of the night, or too late to reach a dentist then there are some things you can do to temporarily ease the pain of your toothache.

Depending on what sort of toothache you are suffering from here are some helpful tips to try:

  • Sleep with head in an elevated position – using pillows to prop your head up keep your head elevated so the blood isn’t causing extra pressure on the sensitive areas.
  • Brush, floss and rinse your mouth gently with cold water – this can help remove some of the trapped food that might be causing pain
  • Use clove oil soaked in a cotton ball and place over your painful tooth. This works well for tooth pain caused from cavities.
  • Rinse your mouth with hot salty water – this is useful for sore or infected gums as the salty hot water will kill off the bacteria and ease the pain.
  • Over the counter pain medication can work great to dull the pain until you can see a dentist. Ibuprofen is best but can alternate with paracetamol making sure you don’t overdo the dosage.
  • For a swollen face and sore gums, use an ice compress on the outside of your face to dull the ache.
  • If you suffer from teeth sensitivity – avoid cold or hot foods and use some desensitising toothpaste and mouthwash before bed

It’s worth noting that these are only some short term tips to temporarily avoid pain at night until you can get an appointment.None of these things will work in the long run, and they definitely won’t cure it. The longer you wait the worse it is likely to get.

So book an appointment, and go get it sorted 🙂

Is the pain unmanageable? Check our recent post Dental Emergency: What To Do, Who To Call, Where To Go


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