Having a toothache is no fun, especially when it happens at night. And it never fails: A toothache never comes on when you can sleep the entire following day away. Instead, toothaches come on at night when you need your sleep desperately, have to be able to function the next day and can’t get in touch with your dentist. So what’s causing the pain to begin with, and what can you do to reduce it enough to catch some much-needed z’s? Let’s find out.
What Causes Toothaches?
There are many causes of toothaches, but here are some of the most frequent ones:
- Tooth decay
- Broken tooth
- Damaged filling
- Excessive gum-chewing
- Teeth grinding
- Infected gums related to gum disease
- Tooth extraction
What are the most common types of toothaches?
Toothaches, including those that occur in the middle of the night, can range from dull, intermittent pain to constant, sharp, throbbing pain. Many patients notice this tooth pain when eating, right before bed, or in the middle of the night. However, toothaches can happen at any time.
Often people can’t pinpoint why they have a toothache or where the discomfort is coming from. Understanding the type of toothache you are experiencing will help you determine what’s causing the pain.
1. Dull, Persistent Ache
A dull, persistent ache is the most common type of toothache. It is usually caused by something stuck between your teeth or in your gums. In rarer cases, it can be a symptom of bruxism (tooth grinding) or an abscessed tooth.
2. Temperature Sensitivity
Temperature sensitivity is common, yet it can be alarming when it happens and severe if not adequately addressed. If your temperature-related pain goes away quickly, you may have worn down some of your enamel. The best way to address this is by using sensitive toothpaste and avoiding exceptionally hot or cold foods. However, if the pain is severe and lasts longer than 30 seconds, something more may be going on. In this case, you may have tooth decay, a tooth fracture, exposed roots, compromised dental fillings, or gum disease.
3. Quick, Sharp Pain
4. Relentless, Throbbing Pain
If your toothache is so bad that it is keeping you from sleeping, you should contact your dentist to request an appointment for first thing in the morning. Try to contact your dental office and leave a message with the evening receptionist or answering service if possible. In some cases, your dentist will inform you of what steps to take next. Further, if you are experiencing additional symptoms such as bleeding, discolored gums, or a weird taste in your mouth, your dentist will want to know so they can try to get you into the office as soon as possible.
5 Remedies To Stop Midnight Toothache Pain
When you get a toothache at night, you just want it to stop. Check out these five remedies that you can try from the comfort of your own home so you can get some relief and rest before your dental appointment.
1. Try an over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication.
Medicines such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help relieve any minor pain you are experiencing. And if these medications help but you’re still experiencing some discomfort, you can add a numbing gel to the mix. Look for one with benzocaine, which can ease the pain long enough for you to relax and fall asleep.
2. Prop your head higher than your body.
Elevating your head can help keep the blood from rushing to your head and decrease your discomfort.
3. Avoid foods and beverages that are acidic or extremely hot or cold, especially right before bed.
These types of food and drink can exacerbate your tooth pain. Stick to bland foods such as applesauce, cottage cheese, oatmeal, soft fruits, or mashed potatoes.
4. Try a saltwater rinse.
Rinsing with saltwater can be highly effective in diminishing toothache pain. Saltwater is a natural disinfectant that loosens food particles and debris that become stuck between your teeth. Using a saltwater rinse can also reduce inflammation.
5. Apply a cold compress to the painful side of your face.
Use a cold compress to reduce swelling. But remember: If using an ice pack, do not apply the pack directly to your cheek. Instead place a thin cloth between the pack and your face so that it isn’t too cold. (That may inadvertently cause more pain.)
You don’t have to suffer from a midnight toothache.
If you have been wondering what to do about a toothache, you are not alone. Tooth pain is no fun! But if you have tried the at-home remedies and your pain is still not going away, it’s time to give your dentist a call. If you live in the North Dallas area, request an appointment with us at Dallas Cosmetic Dental. We couple a modern approach to dentistry with old-fashioned care that you won’t find anywhere else. Give us a call today so that we can help get you back on track to a healthy mouth and a good night’s sleep.