Treating a toothache at home usually involves pain management. Here are a few ways to dull your pain so you can get a good night’s sleep.
- Use over-the-counter pain medication. Using medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and aspirin can relieve minor pain from a toothache. Using numbing pastes or gels — often with benzocaine — can help to dull the pain long enough for you to fall asleep. Don’t use any products with benzocaine to treat infants or children under age 2.
- Keep your head elevated. Propping your head higher than your body can keep the blood from rushing to your head. If blood pools in your head, it might intensify the toothache pain and possibly keep you awake.
- Avoid eating acidic, cold, or hard foods right before bed. These foods can aggravate your teeth and any cavities that may have already formed. Try to avoid foods that trigger pain.
- Rinse your teeth with mouthwash. Use a mouthwash that contains alcohol to both disinfect and numb your teeth.
- Use an ice pack before bed. Wrap an ice pack in cloth and rest the painful side of your face on it. This can help to dull the pain so you can rest.
Therapeutic methods have been used by natural healers to treat oral diseases including toothaches at night. According to a 2015 study, some natural remedies that have been used include:
- guava leaves
- mango bark
- pear seed and bark
- sweet potato leaves
- sunflower leaves
- tobacco leaves
Talk to your doctor and dentist before using natural remedies. Be careful about any allergies or reactions to the plants or oils used.
Toothaches can be caused by something happening to your teeth or gums. They also can be caused by pain in other parts of your body. Common causes of toothaches include:
- Mouth or jaw injury. These can occur from blunt force trauma to the facial area.
- Sinus infection. Drainage from sinus infections may cause tooth pain.
- Tooth decay. When bacteria causes tooth decay, the nerves in your teeth may be exposed, causing pain.
- Losing a filling. If you lose a filling, the nerve inside the tooth may be exposed.
- Abscessed or infected tooth. Sometimes called a dental abscess, this condition is described as a pocket of pus in the tooth.
- Food or other debris wedged in your teeth. Organic and inorganic matter wedged in your teeth can cause pressure between the teeth.
- Teething or wisdom teeth crowning. If you have wisdom teeth coming in, as well as breaking through the gums, they may be pressing against other teeth.
- Temporomandibular joint disorders. TMJ is classified as pain in your jaw joint, but can also affect your teeth.
- Gum disease. Gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontal disease can cause toothaches or pain.
- Grinding. You may grind or clench your teeth at night which can cause additional pain.
Monitor your toothache over the next 24 hours. If it subsides, you may just have an irritation. Make an appointment with your dentist if:
- the pain is severe
- your toothache lasts longer than two days
- you have a fever, headache, or pain when opening your mouth
- you have trouble breathing or swallowing
Depending on what caused your toothache, your dentist will determine a treatment that best fits your condition. If you have tooth decay, they may clean out and fill a cavity in your tooth.
If your tooth has split or cracked, your dentist may repair it or suggest replacement with a false tooth. If your toothache is due to a sinus infection, symptoms will typically subside once your sinus infection goes away, sometimes with the help of antibiotics.
Make sure to consult your dentist if your toothache lasts more than two days or causes you severe discomfort.