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Why Does My Toothache Hurt More Before Bed?

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Person lying in bed holding their tooth in pain

There’s nothing worse than having a toothache that just doesn’t seem to fade. Even after calling your dentist for an emergency appointment, you may have to do what you can over the course of a few hours to ease the pain.

For many people, this can become even more of a challenge as they’re going off to bed. It’s common for people to notice that their teeth hurt a little bit more just as they lay down to go to sleep. If you’ve noticed this happening to you, there are a few reasons why that may be the case. Here are some examples.

A Change of Position

Typically, we spend most of our time either standing or sitting in an upright position, which means that blood needs to fight against gravity to reach the head. When you lay down, however, that is no longer the case. That means that the blood can reach your head much faster.

This shift in blood flow can cause mild swelling in the mouth. Think of a smaller version of the “heavy” feeling in your head when you do a handstand. This is ordinarily fine, but if you have a toothache the increased blood flow may make the problem worse.

No More Distractions

While there are plenty of physical reasons that your teeth could hurt worse at night, there’s a mental component that shouldn’t be understated. When you’re running around during the day and getting things done, it’s easy to forget about a toothache that’s nagging you. When you go to bed, however, all those distractions disappear. This may mean that you feel your pain more acutely than usual.

Teeth Grinding

Millions of people grind their teeth in their sleep, and you may not even be aware that you’re one of them. Even though it happens while you aren’t conscious, you could still be putting an enormous amount of pressure on your teeth without even realizing it.

If you have a toothache, teeth grinding will only make it worse. This could explain why you may be feeling more pain first thing in the morning.

About Our Practice

At Fairfax Dental Group, we know that a lot of dentist’s offices treat you like just a set of teeth, and rush you out the door as quickly as possible. Here, we take the time to understand who you really are and to ensure that you can feel heard during the treatment process. Everyone on our dental team is also an expert in their field, meaning that we’re confident that we can give you the treatment you need.

If you have any questions about tooth pain, we can be reached at our website or by phone at (703) 560-6301.