One of the most common times for a toothache to occur is at night. When it does, it can interrupt your sleep, cause stress and anxiety to take over, and leave you groggy by morning. Even worse, the pain may persist throughout the day or several days in a row.

Pain gets your attention and, unfortunately, will consume you until you can find a way to ease it. Knowing a few relief methods to try if that toothache happens at night, then, can make all the difference. It may even help you get back to sleep faster.

Woman With Toothache

9 Methods to Try for Getting Rid of a Toothache at Night

From over-the-counter medications to home remedies, try any of the following to get rid of that nighttime toothache.

  • Medicated Topical Applications: These days, you have access to topical applications to temporarily lessen or stop the pain of a toothache. You apply these liquids or numbing gels to the top of the surrounding gums to calm the nerves signaling pain, leading to temporary relief. These topical applications usually include benzocaine, so avoid giving them to younger children.
  • Over-the-Counter Pain Medication: Pain medications can provide quick relief from the pain of a minor toothache. Choose between ibuprofen or acetaminophen at night to allow you to sleep. With pain, you may be tempted to go beyond the recommended dosages but resist the temptation. A dentist can recommend a stronger painkiller if needed, so call them first thing the next morning.
  • Saltwater Swish: A simple home remedy is to rinse your mouth with saltwater. A natural antibacterial, saltwater can help reduce any swelling or inflammation. Rinse your mouth a few times as it can also help remove any food debris left stuck in your tooth, which can also lead to a toothache.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse: Another substance to rinse your mouth with is hydrogen peroxide. Dilute it with equal parts of room-temperature water before swishing around in your mouth. This rinse is helpful for those suffering from gum infections like periodontitis which can lead to aches, soreness, and loose teeth. Avoid swallowing.
  • A Cold Compress: Wrap an ice pack, bag of ice, or package of frozen vegetables (such as peas) in a cloth or towel and apply to the outer section of the affected side of your face. The blood vessels in this affected side will constrict and cause a reduction in the level of pain you feel or numb it altogether. Leave the compress on for 15-20 minutes at a time, and reapply every two hours if necessary.
  • Elevate Your Head: Try elevating your head with extra cushions or pillows, making it as comfortable as you can so you can fall asleep. This elevation can alleviate the blood pooling in your head that occurs when you lay flat. In turn, less pressure on your teeth can often ease the pain and swelling.
  • Cloves or Clove Oil: Cloves have long served as a remedy to discomfort in the mouth. This is due to a substance called eugenol within the clove. Eugenol provides the same effects as an analgesic, numbing the area surrounding the achy tooth. A few methods for using clove include the following.
    • The easiest method to use is clove oil, which you can rub on the gums in the affected area. You can also dot a cotton ball with clove oil and wipe it across the affected area.
    • Another method, if time permits, is to make a paste out of whole cloves by first soaking them. Once softened, apply directly onto gums or contain them in some type of bag or mesh before inserting in your mouth.
    • In the middle of the night, you often only have quick access to whole cloves from your pantry shelf. Insert one in your mouth and gently smash on it with your tongue or gently chew.
  • Peppermint Tea: Peppermint contains various helpful elements, including antioxidant and antibacterial properties. It also contains menthol, which can provide a cooling, numbing sensation to the gums. Either swish peppermint tea around the affected tooth or place a wet peppermint tea bag in the area for a few minutes.
  • Garlic: While you may cringe at the thought of using garlic as a toothache aid, especially in the middle of the night, it is perhaps one of the best natural remedies. With its key ingredient of allicin, it kills mouth bacteria which causes tooth pain and cavities. Gently chew on a single garlic clove for relief.

While there are many other natural remedies to try, always be sure to know what they include and if they are actually good for you personally. Some are more suited to adults and should be avoided by children.

Toothaches occur for many reasons and often alert you to bigger problems in your mouth. At a minimum, food is stuck somewhere between your teeth and can be removed with floss. The toothache may be a result of grinding your teeth while you sleep. More serious causes include a lost filling, cracked tooth, cavity, gum disease, tooth abscess, or some type of trauma to the jaw or tooth.

If your toothache persists for more than 48-hours, the underlying cause needs to be identified and treated as soon as possible. Make an appointment with a dentist you trust and learn what your options are.

Contact Stiles Dental Care for all your Dental Needs

When a toothache keeps you awake at night, it can lead to stress in addition to the throbbing or aching pain. Seeking a quick relief will help but, in most instances, will only be temporary. We’re always here for your dental needs. Call us today to schedule an appointment.