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How to Sleep With Toothache?

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Written By Anđela Rajković

Certified Sleep Consultant

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1 April 2024 5 min read

Today's the National Dentist Day! And, in the spirit of this day – let us, The Sleep Advisors, tell you how to sleep with a toothache!

First things first – understand that having a painful toothache or any other kind of dental pain is going to make you miserable. During the day, you will probably feel a dull throb and say ‘Hey, it's nothing', but, once the night comes, you will wish you had gone to the dentist. However, that toothache will only become worse as the late hours progress.

Don't worry – there is a way to deal with that nagging toothache and have a good night's rest! How? Well, keep on reading to find out.

Toothache at night? Here's what to do!

An image of a man with a toothache.

You probably think that sleeping with a toothache is impossible, right? Well, yes and no.

It is a YES because it is not uncommon to have a troublesome that just won't stop bothering us until we go to the dentist. And, it is a NO because it is also not uncommon to ‘postpone the pain' with some modern medication and old-fashioned remedies.

So, if possible, go to the dentist as soon as your tooth starts to hurt. But, if not – don't be desperate. Here's what you can do to ease your toothache pain.

Go to your dentist ASAP!

Just as mentioned before, if it's not too late, go to your dentist immediately. He (or she), will give you a dental exam and in an hour or two, you will go home in a pain-free way.

By giving your tooth an x-ray, your dentist will determine what is the cause of your pain – tooth decay, a missing or loose filling, a crack in your tooth, a cavity, a gum line infection, etc. Once you two determine the problem, your dentist will fix it, give you some medication, and send you home so that you can a better night's sleep.

Take some painkillers

However, if having a dental appointment is not a solution right now (as it is probably nighttime), go to your pharmacist and buy over-the-counter medication for temporary relief. For instance, you can get some ibuprofen like Advil. Your pharmacist can also prescribe some medicines or some medicated ointments, so be sure to ask.

Moreover, another thing you should be sure to do is to share any conditions or medical health problems you have with your pharmacist. And, why is that important? Because certain painkillers don't ‘mix' well with certain medical conditions!

Have a saltwater rinse

Have you heard about the salt rinse? It is when you rinse your mouth with warm salt water, of course. This will kill bacteria in your mouth and soothe the pain coming from your bad toothache. Some people also claim that this helped them not only reduce inflammation but also reduce swelling in their mouths as well. Whether this is true or not, we don't know. But, what we do know is that warm saltwater rinse before bed won't do you any harm.

So, here's how to make it: in a tall glass, mix 100 millilitres of water with one teaspoon of salt. Swish this in your mouth for one minute and then, spit it out. Do this a couple of times, that is until you have used up all the salt water.

If you are experiencing a throbbing sensation, go to ‘cold extremes'. Yes, dentists recommend this one. Instead of warm water, use ice-cold water for creating a saltwater rinse. Cold water is great for reducing inflammation.

Put an ice pack on your jaw

Speaking of cold water, you can also try putting an ice pack on your jaw, that is, on the paper where you are experiencing, pain, inflammation, swelling, etc. But, be careful – putting an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas) on your skin may result in ice burns. To avoid ice burns, just put a cloth between your skin and the ice.

Floss!

One of the reasons why your tooth is causing pain may be the trapped food. Yup, if you had a late-night meal and you didn't wash and floss your teeth correctly, some leftover food particles may be hurting your gums. You can recognize this pain by its throbbing feeling, for example, or by the redness and sensitivity of your gums. Luckily, there is an easy fix for this kind of problem – just floss your teeth thoroughly.

Sleep with your head elevated

We are not going to lie to you – with a toothache at night, there's no chance you can sleep peacefully. The chances are that you will be waking up in the middle of the night. However, to ensure that the pain doesn't get worse, you have to prevent fluids, that is, you will have to prevent the buildup of fluids around your tooth. The fluids coming from your mouth may increase the inflammation and make your tooth hurt even more.

To do that, you will have to elevate your head while sleeping. It would be best if you could sleep in a sitting position. But, we know how hard that is, so, instead, try putting one or two more pillows under your head and shoulders until tomorrow morning.

Taking preventive measures

An image of a woman with a toothache.

To stop asking yourself questions such as ‘Why do my teeth hurt at night', ‘Why do my teeth hurt when I wake up', ‘Why is this toothache killing my sleep', and ultimately ‘ How to fall asleep with a toothache', just pay attention to your oral hygiene. Most dental problems can be prevented by taking care of your mouth every day and by paying your dentist a visit twice a year. As simple as that.

Thus, to avoid having painful symptoms of an affected tooth, here are some things you should do:

Conclusion

There are many things that may be causing an aching or an aching jaw. What they are, we don't know. We are not dentists. But, we are The Sleep Advisors, and what we do know is how to sleep when those aches come to take their toll. So, if you too are experiencing a painful toothache tonight, give one of those tips from above a try.

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About the author

Anđela Rajković
As a CPD certified Sleep Consultant and well-practiced sleep enthusiast, I find a lot of joy in bringing my expertise to our readers – preferably those who love to sleep. With a background in the English language and literature and a love of research, I'm always seeking new ways to share the latest sleep science and bed-related findings. And, when I'm not connecting with my readers, you can find me exploring the great outdoors, or, well, curling up in bed.
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