Unbearable Tooth Pain at Night: Causes, Remedies, and When to Seek Help


Unbearable tooth pain at night can be a distressing experience, as it not only disrupts your sleep but also leaves you in agony. There are various reasons why tooth pain can intensify during the night, and understanding these causes, as well as the remedies available, is essential for managing and alleviating the discomfort. In this article, we’ll delve into the common causes of nighttime tooth pain, home remedies, and when it’s time to seek professional help.

Unbearable Tooth Pain at Night

Common Causes of Unbearable Tooth Pain at Night

Dental Decay

Dental decay, also known as cavities, is a prevalent cause of tooth pain, especially at night. When bacteria attack the enamel and dentin of a tooth, it can lead to sensitivity and pain. Tooth decay often worsens when lying down due to increased blood flow to the head, making the pain more pronounced during the night.

Tooth Abscess

A dental abscess is a pocket of pus that forms within the tooth or in the surrounding gum tissue. It is a severe and painful infection that typically requires immediate treatment. Tooth abscesses can cause intense, throbbing pain that tends to worsen when you lie down, making it particularly uncomfortable at night.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Bruxism, the habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, can lead to tooth pain and discomfort, especially during the night. The excessive pressure on your teeth can cause them to become sensitive and sore, making it difficult to sleep.

Gum Infections

Gum infections, such as gingivitis or periodontitis, can lead to inflammation and pain in the gums and teeth. These conditions can worsen at night due to increased blood flow to the head and changes in saliva production while sleeping.

Dental Trauma

Accidents or injuries that result in dental trauma, such as a chipped, cracked, or dislodged tooth, can lead to severe tooth pain. This pain can be more noticeable at night when you are not distracted by daily activities.

Sinus Issues

Sometimes, tooth pain is not directly related to the teeth themselves but may be a result of sinus problems. Sinus infections or congestion can put pressure on the upper teeth, causing discomfort that is often more pronounced at night.

Home Remedies for Unbearable Tooth Pain at Night

  • Rinse with Warm Saltwater: Gargling with warm saltwater can help reduce inflammation and ease tooth pain. Combine half a teaspoon of salt with a glass of warm water, and swish the solution gently in your mouth.
  • Non-prescription pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can offer temporary respite from tooth pain. It’s important to adhere to the suggested dosage instructions and seek guidance from a healthcare provider if the pain continues.
  • Cold Compress: Applying a cold compress to the outside of your cheek for 15-20 minutes at a time can help reduce swelling and alleviate tooth pain.
  • Elevate Your Head: Sleeping with your head elevated, using an extra pillow, can help reduce blood flow to the head, potentially decreasing the intensity of tooth pain.
  • Clove Oil: Clove oil has natural numbing properties and can provide temporary relief when applied directly to the affected tooth. Use a cotton ball to apply a small amount of clove oil.
  • Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Brushing and flossing gently can help remove debris and bacteria from the affected area, reducing the risk of infection and inflammation.

When to Seek Professional Help

While these home remedies can provide temporary relief, it’s essential to recognize when it’s time to consult a dental professional for more advanced treatment:

  • Prolonged or Severe Pain: If your tooth pain persists for an extended period or is excruciating, it’s crucial to seek professional help. This could indicate a severe dental issue that requires immediate attention.
  • Swelling or Infection: Swelling in the gums, face, or neck, along with signs of infection like pus, can be indicative of a serious dental problem. Dental abscesses, in particular, require prompt treatment to prevent further complications.
  • Changes in Tooth Color or Sensitivity: If you notice changes in the color of your teeth, increased sensitivity, or any visible damage, it’s essential to consult a dentist. These symptoms may indicate dental decay, infection, or trauma.
  • Difficulty Eating or Opening the Mouth: If tooth pain makes it challenging to eat or open your mouth, this is a clear sign that you should seek professional help.
  • Chronic Tooth Grinding: If you suspect bruxism, or teeth grinding, is causing your tooth pain at night, a dentist can provide solutions such as a night guard to protect your teeth.


Dealing with unbearable tooth pain at night can be a trying experience, but it’s important to address the underlying causes and seek appropriate remedies. While home remedies can provide temporary relief, it’s crucial to consult a dental professional when the pain persists or becomes severe. With proper diagnosis and treatment, you can find relief from nighttime tooth pain and ensure the health and comfort of your teeth.

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