6 Reasons Why Your Teeth Hurt When You Wake Up | What to Do?

Apr 15, 2023

Do you wake up with tooth pain?

Many people ask, ‘Why do my teeth hurt when I wake up?’ The answer is there are multiple factors that can lead to morning toothache. Most of us already dread waking up in the morning, but it can become worse if our teeth hurt as well.

Read on to get familiar with the possible causes of your tooth pain. From bruxism to tooth abscess, a lot of culprits could be behind your discomfort.

Reasons Your Teeth Hurt When You Wake Up

Here are some possible causes you are waking up with teeth pain:

  • Sleep Bruxism
    More commonly known as teeth grinding, bruxism involves gnashing your teeth together. As the name suggests, sleep bruxism refers to grinding the teeth or clenching your jaw during sleep. Grinding your teeth regularly can have harmful effects on your oral health, causing toothache, earache, headache, jaw pain, and damaged teeth.
    Although the exact cause of bruxism is unclear, stress and sleep disorders are believed to be contributing factors to this condition.
  • TMJ Disorder
    Your jawbone is connected to your skill with the help of temporomandibular joints. When these joints become inflamed and irritated, it can cause much pain. Moreover, you will experience referred pain in your face, neck, teeth, and joint. Tooth pain, among others, is a common symptom of TMJ disorder. In short, TMJ could be why your teeth hurt when you wake up.
  • Tooth Decay
    Tooth decay might be responsible for your morning tooth pain. When decay advances, it forms cavities in your teeth, which expand to the dental pulp. Since the nerves and blood vessels are located in the tooth’s pulp, it can result in sharp pain. Hence, cavities are a common cause of teeth hurting when you wake up.
  • Gum Disease
    In the early stages of periodontal disease, also known as gingivitis, you may notice red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Due to plaque accumulation along the gum line, your teeth might hurt. In addition, untreated gingivitis advances into a severe form of gum disease called periodontitis. This, too, can be responsible for morning tooth pain. You can visit a periodontist for gum disease treatment.
  • Impacted Tooth
    When a tooth cannot erupt through the gum line due to a lack of space in the mouth, it becomes impacted. Since there is not enough room in your mouth to accommodate them, teeth become impacted, which could result from crowded teeth and even genetics. As a result, your gums will be painful, swollen, and red. Furthermore, you are likely to experience tooth pain.
  • Tooth Abscess
    A common reason why your teeth hurt when you wake up is a tooth abscess. When bacterial infection collects in the form of a pus pocket, a bump appears on the tooth’s root or the gums surrounding it. Apart from tooth pain, you may experience swollen gums, fever, and other painful symptoms. If you suspect a tooth abscess, you will need immediate dental treatment.

Tips to Reduce Morning Tooth Pain

If your teeth hurt in the morning, you can try the following to alleviate the pain:

  • The first thing you should do is visit a dentist for a dental examination and let them assess your mouth for a diagnosis.
  • Rinse your mouth with a lukewarm solution of salt and water.
  • Use cold compresses and press them against the affected tooth.
  • Apply clove oil either directly or on a cotton ball and place it on the hurting tooth.
  • Wear a mouthguard at night to prevent the consequences of grinding teeth.
  • Get toothpaste specifically made for sensitive teeth.
  • Take OTC pain medications.

What’s Next?

Do your teeth hurt in the morning? The primary reason for morning tooth pain is tooth decay and sleep bruxism. However, other factors such as gum disease, abscess, impacted teeth, and more can also result in tooth pain after you wake up.

Dr. Allen Jahangiri

Dr. Allen Jahangiri

Dr. Allen Jahangiri, founder of Noble Smile family and cosmetic dentistry in Katy, Texas, and his team offer top-notch dental and aesthetic services to enhance your smile. Trained at the University of Texas, Health Science Center in San Antonio, Dr. Jahangiri learned from leading dentists and oral surgeons. After earning his DDS, he completed a residency to master advanced dental techniques. He provides a comprehensive range of services, including cosmetic, general, implant, pediatric dentistry, and oral surgery. Recognizing patient anxiety, he also specializes in sedation dentistry for a more comfortable experience.
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