Are Toothaches Worse at Night?

March 2, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — budadental @ 11:07 pm

Digital image of a toothacheNothing can ruin your day quicker than a toothache. While you push through the pain during the day, it can be impossible to ignore your discomfort when trying to doze off for the night. If it seems like your toothache gets worse after going to bed, you’re not imagining things. Believe it or not, dental pain can worsen after the sun goes down, but you don’t have to spend the night tossing and turning. Here’s why your pain intensifies and what you can do to keep it under control so you can get some shuteye. 

Dental Pain At Night

It’s not uncommon for dental pain to worsen at night, which can be caused by many factors. A few of the most common triggers of nighttime dental pain include:

  • Fewer Distractions: Your brain can only focus on so many things at one time. You have fewer distractions at night, so your brain is more likely to focus on your discomfort.
  • Late-Night Snacking: Eating certain foods too close to bedtime can trigger sensitivity and pain.
  • More Blood Circulation: Laying down causes more blood to flow to your head, causing you to feel more discomfort than when standing. The increased blood flow puts more pressure on your tooth.
  • Grinding and Clenching: Untreated bruxism can cause tooth pain and jaw or facial tenderness. It can also lead to recurring headaches. 

Although many people think an occasional toothache is normal, it’s never a good sign. Any dental pain is a symptom of an untreated dental issue, like a cavity, infection, or teeth grinding. Whether your discomfort comes on suddenly or it’s an ongoing problem, it’s not something you want to ignore. It’s best to contact an emergency dentist right away to pinpoint the source to provide permanent relief. 

Managing Toothaches at Home

You don’t have to lose sleep while waiting for your appointment. You can get the rest you need by using a few tips to manage your toothache:

  • Watch What You Eat: Avoid any hot or cold foods or drinks before heading to bed. It’s better to eat softer foods.
  • Change Your Sleeping Position: Sleep with your pillow elevated to prevent blood from pooling in your head. 
  • Manage Your Discomfort: Take an OTC pain reliever before calling it a night. Rinsing your mouth with salt water can reduce pain and inflammation while killing bacteria.
  • Apply a Cold Compress: A cold compress can numb the area and reduce swelling.

While no one has time for an unplanned trip to their dentist, don’t delay scheduling an appointment. A small issue can quickly turn into a big problem. Your dentist will provide the quick care you need to stop your pain, so you can focus on more important matters.

About Dr. Ashley Strickland

Dr. Strickland earned her dental degree at the University of Texas Health Science Center and has regularly completed continuing education in advanced specialties, like general dentistry. She is a proud member of many professional organizations, including the Academy of General Dentistry. If you need a dentist in a hurry, request an appointment through our website or call (512) 295-5555.

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