Toothache at Night Only: Causes, Home Remedies & Treatments

Toothache is a painful condition that can disrupt your daily routine. It can cause discomfort that affects your ability to eat, drink, talk, or even sleep. However, the pain can get worse at night, making it difficult to catch some rest. If you have ever experienced a toothache that only bothers you at night, you know how daunting it can be. In this blog post, We will help you understand the causes, symptoms, and potential treatments for toothaches at night. We will also provide practical tips on how to prevent and manage toothaches effectively.

Why Does Toothache Strike at Night Only?

Toothache at night only can result from several causes. One common cause is the inflammation of the tooth pulp, also known as pulpitis. The tooth pulp is the innermost layer of the tooth and contains sensitive nerve endings and blood vessels. When this tissue becomes inflamed, it can cause intense tooth pain that worsens at night when lying down. Pulp inflammation is also the main cause of child tooth pain at night.

When you lay down to sleep, the blood flow to the tooth increases, which puts extra pressure on the inflamed nerve endings. This can aggravate the dental pain, making it worse and more noticeable.

What Causes Toothache to Occur Only at Night?

Causes of tooth pulp inflammation and toothache at night include:

  • Extensive tooth decay
  • Tooth fractures
  • Dental abscess
  • Trapped food particles between teeth
  • Loose dental fillings
  • Gum infection; gingivitis and periodontitis
  • Teeth grinding teeth during sleep
  • Eruption of wisdom teeth
  • Impacted wisdom teeth
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)

Sinus infections can put pressure on the upper teeth, which may trigger a toothache. Bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) can lead to jaw muscle and joint tension, resulting in toothache.

Recognizing the Signs & Symptoms

The symptoms of toothache at night may vary depending on the underlying cause, but some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Sharp, throbbing, or persistent toothache
  • Sensitivity to cold and hot food or drinks, as well as sugary foods, can significantly exacerbate toothache, especially at night.
  • Swelling of the jaw or gums
  • Cavities in the tooth enamel.
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep due to nighttime toothache.
  • Pain worsens when lying down or biting down on the affected area
  • Headache or earache near the affected tooth

If you notice any of these symptoms, visit your dentist as soon as possible to determine the cause of the painful tooth and receive appropriate treatment.

Home Remedies for Toothache at Night

If the pain is unbearable and preventing you from sleeping, some home remedies may help provide temporary relief.

  • Take over-the-counter pain medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers may include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin to reduce inflammation and stop tooth nerve pain.
  • Keep your head elevated: Using an extra pillow to elevate your head above your body can help reduce nighttime tooth pain by decreasing blood flow to the head area and alleviating pressure and discomfort.
  • Avoid spicy, crunchy, and sticky foods: These types of food can irritate the affected area and worsen the pain of your teeth at night.
  • Rinse your mouth with mouthwash: To effectively disinfect and alleviate discomfort from nighttime tooth pain.
  • Place a cold compress on your cheek: This can help reduce swelling and ease the pain. You can use a cold pack or wrap an ice cube or frozen vegetables in a cloth and place it on the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time. However, if you’re experiencing discomfort or numbness from the cold compress, it’s best to remove it and give your skin a break before reapplying.

These beneficial home remedies may provide some short-term relief from the pain, however, it is essential to schedule an emergency appointment with your dentist for professional dental care.

Natural Remedies for Nighttime Toothaches

Dealing with a toothache at night only can be particularly distressing, but there are several natural remedies that may provide temporary relief. One simple home remedy is rinsing your mouth with warm salt water, which can reduce inflammation and clear away debris. Mix a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds.

Another effective option is using clove oil, renowned for its antibacterial properties and ability to numb dental pain. Applying a small amount of clove oil to the affected area can alleviate discomfort.

Additionally, a diluted hydrogen peroxide rinse can help reduce bacteria and relieve some level of pain, but ensure it’s properly diluted to avoid irritation.

While these natural remedies can offer some relief, it’s essential to understand that they are not substitutes for professional dental care. They can help manage symptoms temporarily but won’t address underlying issues such as a tooth infection or severe dental pain that may require urgent attention.

If you experience persistent toothache at night only, it’s crucial to consult with a dentist to determine the cause and receive appropriate treatment. Relying solely on home remedies can delay necessary treatment, potentially worsening the condition. Always prioritize professional dental care to maintain optimal oral health and address any serious dental issues promptly.

Treatment Options for Toothache Only Occurs at Night

Treatment of a toothache at night depends on the underlying cause. Your dentist may recommend one or more of these treatments to soothe tooth pain:

  • Dental fillings: If a cavity or lost filling is the cause of toothache, a dental filling can help restore the tooth structure and function. Untreated cavities can lead to tooth abscesses and other oral health issues.
  • Scaling and Root Planing: This procedure is used to remove plaque buildup from below the gum line. This helps treat gum infections and infected gum pockets.
  • Root canal treatment: This procedure treats tooth infection by removing the inflamed tooth pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals. Then, the infected tooth is sealed with a dental filling.
  • Antibiotics: If the cause of the toothache is an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.
  • Tooth extraction: If the tooth is severely damaged or impacted, tooth extraction may be recommended.
  • Night guards: If bruxism is the cause of the toothache, your dentist may recommend wearing a custom night guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.

Sinus infections can also cause toothache at night, so your dentist may refer you to an ENT specialist.

Care Tips for Maintaining Oral Health

To reduce your risk of experiencing toothache that occurs only at night, it’s crucial to maintain good oral hygiene practices. Brush your teeth twice daily and floss at night to remove any remaining food particles and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum infection. Incorporate mouthwash into your oral care routine for an added layer of protection.

Limiting snacks at night and avoiding sugary drinks at night can also help prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria. If you suffer from teeth grinding at night, using a mouth guard can protect your teeth from damage.

Regular visits to your dentist for professional cleanings and checkups are essential for maintaining oral health and catching any minor issues before they escalate into major problems. By following these care tips, you can ensure a healthy mouth and maintain a beautiful smile while minimizing the risk of nighttime toothaches.


Toothache at night only usually results from inflammation of the tooth pulp due to cracking, chipping, tooth decay, trauma, or gum infection. When you lay down to sleep, the blood flow to the tooth increases, putting extra pressure on the inflamed nerve endings.

Home remedies, such as over-the-counter pain medications, elevating your head, and cold compresses, may provide temporary relief. However, visit a dentist as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis and treatment to prevent painful complications and other oral health issues.

The treatment of toothache at night depends on the underlying cause. Your dentist may recommend root canal treatment, antibiotics, or tooth extraction.

Maintaining a consistent oral care routine is crucial for achieving optimal oral health and a beautiful smile. By prioritizing daily oral hygiene practices such as brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash, you can effectively prevent dental issues and promote overall well-being.

Regular dental check-ups further enhance oral health by allowing dental professionals to detect and address potential dental issues early on.

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