Toothaches come in all shapes and sizes. Some are dull and achy others are sharp. There are so many different reasons why your teeth might hurt. But today let’s talk about the main two reasons your tooth hurts more when you’re laying down or sleeping.
Whenever we lay down to sleep, it can actually raise our blood pressure. You might think it would be the opposite, but that increased blood pressure can actually push against the nerves and blood supply to your teeth causing them to flare up whenever you go to bed. It’s similar to sinuses hurting more at night when everything rushes to your head more congestion and more pressure when you lay down.
If the teeth that hurt are on the top of your mouth, you’ll want to rule out any sinus, infections, congestion, or allergies being to blame. Oftentimes once someone takes a decongestant and that tooth issue is solved, then they know. But if it’s not due to your sinuses, there are two main reasons why tooth pain is worse when you lay down to sleep.
One reason is that you might have a tooth infection.
If it is one specific tooth and you can tell which tooth hurts that it hurts to bite on it, it has pain with pressure, heat sensitivity (not usually from cold sensitivity), it could also be sensitive to cold in addition to heat, but heat is usually the red flag. And of course, if it’s throbbing more at night. All of these things can be evidenced to tell us that the tooth is headed into root canal territory meaning the nerve of the tooth is infected with decay. It is dying or it has died.
In this case, specifically, it is super important to schedule an appointment with your dentist ASAP. So they can evaluate whether or not your tooth is infected. Maybe you’ll need an antibiotic. And often when you call, they will give you some tips and recommendations to get you through the night before you can see your dentist the next day if they can’t get you in the same day.
Some of the things to get you by are things like taking over-the-counter pain medication, which would usually be an anti-inflammatory NSAID, like ibuprofen; propping your head up with a couple of extra pillows, or sleeping in a recliner to keep your head elevated; making a cold compress to place against the side of your mouth that hurts.
Another reason your teeth might hurt more at night is because of teeth grinding.
Teeth grinding or bruxism chronic teeth. Clenching and grinding is usually a subconscious habit that is brought on by issues like stress, anxiety, TMJ disorder, and even Sleep Apnea. The constant clenching of your jaw joint and teeth will gradually strain the tiny ligaments that hold your tooth roots in place making them sore to the point where it feels like a toothache. This is usually when you can’t pinpoint exactly which tooth hurts. Sometimes you can if you’ve been clenching or grinding right on a specific tooth. But oftentimes it can feel like a whole area or a whole side of your jaw that hurts.
Again best advice is to call your dentist to confirm the pain is from grinding your teeth. Because if you grind too much there is a chance that you can cause chipping or cracking or fracturing on your teeth without even knowing it until it gets really bad. So for anyone who clenches or grinds their teeth at night, it’s always recommended to visit your dentist for them to examine all of your teeth and make sure there’s no damage from grinding. And after that, they will often recommend a night guard to wear at night to protect your teeth.
Hope this blog gave you an idea of the two main causes that are known to cause tooth pain when you lay down to sleep at night.