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How to Get Rid of a Nagging Toothache at Night

At the end of a long day, we all like to be able to snuggle into bed and drift into a peaceful and refreshing sleep. However, many people don’t realize they are experiencing a toothache until it begins to nag them at night. You may find you are going to fall asleep only to be kept awake by an annoying and painful toothache. Unfortunately, most people can’t visit their dentist at night and are stuck suffering until the morning. In this blog Cartoon tooth sleeping with pillow and toothbrushpost, we are going to address some of the best at-home remedies for toothaches to help you make it through the night and to the dentist. We will then talk about some of the underlying causes of toothaches and how you can address these with a comprehensive oral health care routine. Of course, if you are experiencing a recurrent and painful toothache, it is important to book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. 

Toothache Home Remedies

If you find that you are awake all night with a persistent toothache, you may require an at-home remedy to help you make it until the morning. These remedies can also help in the interim while you wait for your emergency dental appointment. However, these suggestions are only intended to help alleviate pain in the short term.

  1. Try sleeping with your head elevated on a thick pillow or several pillows. Elevation can help prevent pressure caused by blood flow into the head and mouth. Elevating your head can therefore help to alleviate some of the pain, improve circulation and reduce swelling. 
  2. Following a comprehensive oral health care routine can help prevent additional food or debris in the mouth from contributing to pain. Before going to sleep, make sure you brush your teeth for a full two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste and then floss. This will help remove any trapped food particles that may be contributing to pain. 
  3. Another trick for reducing tooth pain is to soak a cotton ball in clove oil and then place it over the painful tooth. This is an effective, all-natural pain relief strategy for short term management of discomfort.
  4. When gums are infected or causing pain, try rinsing your mouth with a hot saltwater solution. This can help rinse the mouth of debris and clean any wounds or sites of infection.
  5. For short-term pain management, you can also use over-the-counter pain medication that can reduce inflammation and/or pain at the site of the infected tooth. Always consult a pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter medication. 
  6. If you are experiencing any swelling in the face or gums, you can limit the inflammation and soothe the area with an ice pack or cold compress. 

However, each of these recommendations should only be utilized for short-term pain management. If you are experiencing a persistent toothache, it is important to visit your dentist as soon as possible and use these suggestions to manage pain only until you can talk to your healthcare provider. 

Why do I get a toothache at night?

There are many reasons you might get a toothache at night. You may experience a dull throb, a sharp pain or even severe discomfort depending on the type of toothache, what is causing it and how long it’s gone untreated. Unfortunately, an untreated toothache can severely affect your oral health if neglected, and the pain and discomfort can compromise your sleep and overall wellbeing. Some of the most common causes of a nighttime toothache include: 

  1. The simplest and most common cause of a toothache is food particles stuck between your teeth or gums. Popcorn kernels, apple skins, small seeds or nuts can all easily get trapped between teeth and cause discomfort or pain. This can often be improved by simply brushing and flossing to remove the trapped food. 
  2. Many people grind their teeth at night, especially during periods of excessive stress. You may be grinding your teeth at night if you wake up with a sore jaw or teeth. However, if you already have a toothache due to an infection, cavity or food stuck between teeth, the grinding motion can make the pain worse.
  3. Lying down at night can result in blood flow increasing to the head, contributing to the throbbing feeling of pain. 

There are a number of dental health issues that can cause toothaches

There are many possible causes of a nagging toothache and the below list is by no means comprehensive. If you are experiencing a toothache, no matter what the underlying issue may be, you should immediately book an appointment with your dentist.

  • Cavities are the most common cause of toothaches. A cavity is a hole in your tooth and the resulting pain can range from mild to severe with increased sensitivity to hot and cold extremes.
  • Periodontal disease is a common but serious affliction of the gums that results in swelling, tenderness, pain and sometimes bleeding. 
  • Cracked or chipped teeth can cause mild to severe pain depending on the level of damage and the location of the tooth. 
  • A sinus infection can cause pressure to build up above the molar teeth and create a toothache around the infected jaw area. 
  • Pulpitis is another common but serious infection of the pulp that results in inflammation, swelling, pressure and pain. 

If you are experiencing a persistent toothache, it may be a sign of a cavity, gum disease or serious infection. In order to get to the root of the problem, it is important to book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. If you are looking for a dentist in the Greater Toronto Area, Dr. Lloyd Pedvis has over 25 years of experience in family and cosmetic dentistry. Conveniently located in Woodbridge, Mackenzie Dental Centre can provide you with comprehensive dental care, from regular check-ups for cavities and decay to Invisalign braces and veneers. Contact our friendly team at 905-417-8700 to book your dental appointment today.

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