One of the most annoying aspects of having a toothache is if it is the type that increases in intensity or becomes more noticeable when you lie down. The important thing to keep in mind in this situation is to do what you can to relieve your toothache as well as getting an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Do not panic, as there is a lot that you can do to manage this problem.
What is the reason for this kind of toothache?
Change in the position of your head from upright to horizontal: When you lie down, blood rushes to your head, which increases the internal pressure of the tooth, especially if you lie down on your side. The tooth has a blood supply as well as a nerve supply in its innermost part, the pulp, which makes it sensitive to pressure and pain.
Removal of distractions at the end of the day when you lie down to sleep: Usually, you lie down at the end of the day to go to sleep. It is at this point of the day, when you try to fall asleep and do not have any task to focus on, that your awareness may pick up on your toothache. Throughout the day, you were distracted from the toothache by focusing on different things you were doing. Now you realize how much your tooth hurts.
What you ate for dinner: It may be that the sugar or carbohydrate content of your dinner is irritating your teeth. Maybe you forgot to brush your teeth, or did not manage to brush your teeth properly, resulting in some food particles stuck between your teeth, which are causing your sensitive teeth to hurt.
Tooth grinding throughout the day: It may be that you have the habit of grinding your teeth when you are anxious or stressed. The pain of tooth grinding may be felt as a headache or it may appear as a toothache. The build-up of stress and tooth grinding all day long manifests at the end of the day when you lie down and try to relax.
What are the possible dental problems
that can cause this kind of toothache?
Tooth decay: Bacterial attack on tooth structure causes breakdown of the tissues that make up the tooth. This leads to the development of a dental cavity in the tooth. Once the decay reaches the sensitive inner layer of the tooth, it results in a toothache.
Cracked or fractured tooth: A physical trauma or a fall can cause a tooth to be chipped, broken or fractured. The pain that results from this can be due to the tooth becoming sensitive to hot, cold, sweet or pressure, or it may be that the crack has gone deep until it has reached the sensitive part of the tooth.
Advanced dental infection: Once the bacterial infection advances to the innermost living core of the tooth, which is called the pulp, it starts to spread in the pulp and cause necrosis. In the process of necrosis, gases are released which cause a build-up of pressure in the tooth which leads to toothache.
Pain management techniques that you can apply to manage the toothache until you can see your dentist
Use an extra pillow or combination of pillows to elevate your head while you sleep: It is best to increase the elevation of your head in order to decrease the pressure within the tooth, which will help reduce the dental pain. Be careful and do not elevate your head to the extent that you stretch your neck too much. Find a good middle ground which is comfortable for your neck and reduces the posture-related increase in intensity of the toothache as well.
Clean your teeth thoroughly: Even if you have just brushed, it can help if you go over your teeth again with the toothbrush, more carefully and slowly this time. You may also use dental floss to remove any particles of food that are stuck between your teeth, or to remove dental plaque from between the teeth. This will help remove the substances that promote bacterial action.
Rinse your mouth with lukewarm salt water: You may take a glass of lukewarm water, mix a spoonful of table salt in it, and rinse your mouth with it. This will help dislodge any food particles that are stuck between your teeth as well as reducing bacterial action in your mouth.
Use over the counter painkillers: You may use over the counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. Do not use them continuously to manage your toothache. They are only intended for short term use.
Place a cold pack on your cheek: You may apply a cold pack to your face to reduce any swelling associated with the toothache. Alternatively, you may use ice chips by placing them in your mouth next to the painful tooth.
Use toothpaste or mouthwash for sensitive teeth: These toothpastes and mouthwashes are intended to reduce the sensitivity of teeth to hot and cold foods as well as sweet taste. Avoid eating or drinking anything that is very hot or cold, instead choose foods that are
Home pain remedies: Oils
- Clove oil – The procedure to use clove oil to relieve a toothache caused by dental decay is to soak a cotton ball in clove oil and place it over the tooth that hurts. While the reason for its efficacy is disputed, the most common explanation is that the eugenol (it’s primary chemical component) is the part of the clove oil that is providing the anti-inflammatory properties as well as the numbness that can tame minor to moderate tooth pain.
- Peppermint oil – Peppermint oil feels cool and soothing and also has antibacterial properties as well. To use this, just put 3 drops of peppermint oil or extract on a cotton swab and rub gently directly below the affected area, on your gums. This should help to soothe you enough to get your snooze on soon. Fennel oil – If the mint is a bit strong and you have sensitive gums, fennel oil might be a good fit soothing your pain. Fennel has some antibacterial properties and can soothe the pain if your toothache is fairly mild. It is a popular solution brought to you by Eastern medicine and also has the bonus of freshening up your breath a bit as well without the ‘in your face’ aggression of mint. Garlic oil – If you get some foil and place a garlic clove on it along with a few drops of vegetable oil, then wrap it and bake it, you can crush the garlic to get its oil to use as a pain remedy. Garlic is well known for its antibacterial properties and can provide mild pain relief as well, so try soaking a cotton ball in the garlic oil and placing it in the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes. Alternately, if the pain is mild, you can bite down lightly on a garlic clove or even mash it into a paste and apply to the gums.
- Thyme essential oil – You may not be aware of it, but thyme has powerful antioxidant properties, with antibacterial properties to boot! You can take advantage of this by putting 4 or 5 drops of it on a cotton ball with a few drops of water as well, placing it between cheek and gum for 5 to 10 minutes. If the tooth is just beginning to become infected then this can help to ease your pain a little and clean up some of the bad bacteria at the same time.
- Eucalyptus oil and Peppermint- 2 to 3 drops of Eucalyptus oil and 1 drop of peppermint oil can give you a numbing, double-whammy. As both oils have antibacterial properties you will enjoy this benefit at the same time that the numbing properties of both help to tackle the pain. While eucalyptus can be used on its own, it is better to add a dash of mint to make it more palatable so that you are more likely to relax.
Home pain remedies: Harness the power of Tabasco
Tabasco and other sauces that are high on the ‘hot’ side not only taste good but can also help with that tooth pain. The reason for this is the Capsacain contained in the peppers. This is the part of the pepper that excites the nerves and you can take advantage of this property to essentially ‘overload’ the nerves and give yourself a little relief (at the same time that the tooth is being cleaned from the acidity, which is a bonus!). To take advantage of this, you can put a few drops on a cotton ball or even a breadball (although cotton is better unless you are intending to brush before bed). Bite down on the cotton or breadball and give the hot sauce a little time to work its magic. Don’t try this, of course, if you are sensitive to hot sauce, but if it’s a regular part of your diet then you will be glad to know that you can use this ‘pain hack’ as often as you like.
Home pain remedies :Brown paper compress hack
Don’t have a hot water bottle at home? No problem. This is an old-timey hack that you can use to give yourself a little heat and relief when your jaw is aching at night and you just want to get to sleep. To do it, you will need black pepper and brown paper, such as from a grocery store bag (start asking for paper bagging if you have a local store that still supplies it or check for lunch bags that most will sell, otherwise you can get this from an art supply to keep on hand at home). You will want to dip the paper in vinegar quickly and then sprinkle one side with black paper. Place it against your cheek and you will notice that the chemical reaction produced by the vinegar and pepper has heated up your brown paper pleasantly. This will provide a soothing effect, similar to an electric blanket or a hot water bottle, which can help you to drift away to dreamland quickly.
A note to remember: These fixes are TEMPORARY
Make sure to get an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. In the case of a dental emergency such as extreme pain, look up walk-in emergency dental care in order to get your problem solved quicker. In any case, do not prolong your situation by managing your pain at home in the hope that it will go away on its own. The toothache will be gone for good once the dental cause is treated by your dentist.
Tooth pain at night can be almost unbearable. We hope that you will use these tips and tricks that we have provided to help ameliorate the pain but don’t forget that the pain is only a symptom. Make the call and schedule that dentist appointment today!