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They Mostly Come Out at Night: Why Toothaches Can Be Worse After Dark

December 13, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — goodlettsville @ 11:14 pm
Woman lies down with tooth pain

The daylight hours are full of activity, hustle, bustle, and tasks to be completed, but the night is a much quieter time. As the town winds down for the evening, you’ll probably hear less traffic, fewer lawnmowers, fewer conversations, and less noise in general. When you’re getting ready for bed, you’re probably expecting a quiet and relaxing experience, so it can be quite disturbing to lie down and realize that you have a toothache. Here’s why you might suddenly notice a toothache at night and a few tips for resolving or managing the issue.

Why Did I Suddenly Get a Toothache at Night?

The noise, sights, and activities of the daytime provide ample distractions. You’re less likely to notice minor discomfort if you’re busy doing a task or just paying attention to something else, but things tend to calm down as evening turns into night. Without the lights, noises, and activities of the day, your brain has less to focus on, which can make it easier to notice unpleasant sensations that you’ve been ignoring all day.

There are a variety of reasons that you might suddenly notice a toothache at night. Perhaps there’s something stuck in your gums or between your teeth, or maybe you grind your teeth in your sleep without realizing it. If your tooth is infected, laying down can increase blood flow to your head, resulting in an intensified throbbing sensation.

How Can I Get Some Sleep with a Nocturnal Toothache?

Luckily, there are a few readily available home remedies that can help you get some shuteye before the emergency dentist’s office opens in the morning or even resolve the issue completely. If your toothache is due to something stuck in your gums or teeth, giving your smile a thorough brushing and flossing can dislodge the debris and have you feeling comfortable again. If the problem is because of teeth grinding, you can buy a special mouthguard to wear over your teeth as you sleep that will prevent or mitigate the damage.

However, if your toothache is due to an infection, you will need attention from a dental professional. One way to alleviate the pain until you can see the dentist is to use pillows or cushions to prop your head up as you sleep. This will use gravity to reduce blood flow to your head, which will help ease the throbbing sensation. Clove oil is a tried-and-proven way to ease the pain of a toothache. Just put a little on a cotton ball and place it over the afflicted tooth. Over-the-counter pain medication can also help you sleep more comfortably.

While a toothache can be a major barrier to a peaceful night’s sleep, there are things you can do to deal with the problem. These tips for treating a toothache can help you rest comfortably after you close your eyes.

About the Author

Dr. Deidra Harrison-McClain earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery from the Meharry Medical College in Nashville, where she was at the top of her class. She is proud to be a member of the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the Tennessee Dental Association. Her office in Goodlettsville, TN offers general, cosmetic, restorative, and emergency dentistry. If you need help with a toothache, dial (615) 819-1644 or contact the office online to schedule an appointment.

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