Treating a toothache at home usually involves pain management. Here are a few ways to dull your pain so you can get a good night’s sleep.
Use over-the-counter pain medication. Using medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and aspirin can relieve minor pain from a toothache. Using numbing pastes or gels — often with benzocaine — can help to dull the pain long enough for you to fall asleep. Don’t use any products with benzocaine to treat infants or children under age 2.
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Keep your head elevated. Propping your head higher than your body can keep the blood from rushing to your head. If blood pools in your head, it might intensify the toothache pain and possibly keep you awake.
Avoid eating acidic, cold, or hard foods right before bed. These foods can aggravate your teeth and any cavities that may have already formed. Try to avoid foods that trigger pain.
Rinse your teeth with mouthwash. Use a mouthwash that contains alcohol to both disinfect and numb your teeth.
Use an ice pack before bed. Wrap an ice pack in cloth and rest the painful side of your face on it. This can help to dull the pain so you can rest.
What are the causes of toothaches?
Toothaches can be caused by something happening to your teeth or gums. They also can be caused by pain in other parts of your body. Common causes of toothaches include:
- Mouth or jaw injury – These can occur from blunt force trauma to the facial area.
- Sinus infection – Drainage from sinus infections may cause tooth pain.
- Tooth decay – When bacteria causes tooth decay, the nerves in your teeth may be exposed, causing pain.
- Losing a filling – If you lose a filling, the nerve inside the tooth may be exposed.
- Abscessed or infected tooth – Sometimes called a dental abscess, this condition is described as a pocket of pus in the tooth.
- Food or other debris wedged in your teeth – Organic and inorganic matter wedged in your teeth can cause pressure between the teeth.
- Teething or wisdom teeth crowning – If you have wisdom teeth coming in, as well as breaking through the gums, they may be pressing against other teeth.
- Temporomandibular joint disorders – TMJ is classified as pain in your jaw joint, but can also affect your teeth.
- Gum disease – Gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontal disease can cause toothaches or pain.
- Grinding – You may grind or clench your teeth at night which can cause additional pain.
When should you go to the dentist?
Monitor your toothache over the next 24 hours. If it subsides, you may just have an irritation. Make an appointment with your after hours dentist if:
- the pain is severe
- your toothache lasts longer than two days
- you have a fever, headache, or pain when opening your mouth
- you have trouble breathing or swallowing
Does laying down make a toothache worse?(reference)
There are several reasons why your toothache might get worse at night. You could have aggravated your teeth after eating dinner or a late night meal. Especially if you haven’t brushed there is potential for some food to still be stuck in between your teeth or gums causing aggravation.
You might have been suffering from a toothache during the day, but due to the everyday distractions of life you might not have been as aware of it. Sometimes it can take sitting down to relax at night for you to notice just how painful your teeth really are.
Another cause for late night toothaches can be due to grinding your teeth when stressed throughout the day. In turn this will have caused strain on your jaw resulting in pain at night.
The other reason, and probably the main reason why it gets worse at night for most, is due to blood flow when you lie down. When you lay down horizontally all the blood flows towards your head and face and therefore can cause pressure on the sensitive areas where your toothache is. This can cause that throbbing sensation that a toothache might give.