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Why Do Toothaches Get Worse at Night?

July 19, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — e_anderson @ 4:13 pm
Man sitting up in bed, suffering from toothache

Sleep is vital for good health. If you fail to get enough of it, your overall wellness and your quality of life are bound to suffer. Unfortunately, a toothache could prevent you from getting the shuteye you need to feel your best. The pain might even be worse at night than it was throughout the day! Why do toothaches get worse at night? This blog post talks about a few possible reasons.

Changes in Blood Flow

When you are sitting upright or standing, your head usually gets just enough blood flow for your brain and nearby structures to function properly. At night, though, your head is almost level with the rest of your body, so it receives a higher volume of blood. This increase in blood pressure can worsen a toothache. Therefore, dentists often recommend that someone with a toothache props their head up on a few pillows while sleeping.

Teeth Grinding

Have you ever gone to sleep feeling normal only to wake up later with a nagging toothache? Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding and clenching, might be to blame. When your top and bottom rows of teeth exert pressure on one another, they are prone to cause mutual pain and irritation. In many cases, the best way to prevent bruxism is to wear a custom nightguard that creates a protective barrier between your upper and lower teeth.

Fewer Distractions

If your tooth pain is relatively mild, you might be able to ignore it as you go about your daily activities. Your job, your errands, and family responsibilities could make it easy for you not to pay attention to any oral pain. At night, though, when distractions are fewer, you may be more apt to notice your discomfort.


When a cavity penetrates the outer layer of a tooth (the enamel) and exposes the underlying dentin, it becomes much easier for outside stimuli to cause sensitivity and pain. However, that does not mean your discomfort will be constant. Pain related to cavities is known to come and go.

When Should You See a Dentist?

Any new or increasing oral pain is a valid reason to book an appointment with your dentist, even if the issue is not yet having an impact on your daily activities. It is possible that you have tooth decay, gum disease, thinning tooth enamel, or other problems that require professional treatment. The sooner you book an appointment, the less likely it is that your condition will progress into a full-blown emergency.

Do not let a toothache steal away your rest! Seek care ASAP so you can get back to enjoying rejuvenating, high-quality shuteye.

Meet the Practice

Dr. Erick Anderson and the team at Anderson Family Dental provide general and emergency oral health services to the Colorado Springs community. If you are struggling with a toothache, we are ready to make room for you in our schedule. Contact our friendly staff at 719-593-0988.

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