Why Do Your Teeth Hurt at Nighttime?
A toothache is perhaps one of the biggest tortures in the world. It is especially intolerable at night when it doesn’t allow you to properly sleep and be functional the following day. Why does it happen at nighttime? Is there a clear physiological background or are the causes are deeply psychological? Let’s find out.
First, not only does a toothache grows more severe at nighttime. All the diseases and pathologies aggravate at this time. The night is a critical period for a human body. All the vital processes slow down, arterial pressure goes slightly up, and the body becomes more vulnerable to diseases.
During the day, special hormones produced in the adrenal glands control the pathological processes in our body. They are called corticosteroids and are known to reduce pain. At nighttime, their work slows down and in the morning, the process starts all over again.
There is a special nerve in our body called vagus nerve. It is responsible for our mood and general feelings, so it can increase or reduce pain intensity. When we lay down to sleep, the blood flows into our head and increases pressure on the nerve endings, increasing our pain as well.
The psychological aspect is also present here. In the daytime we are busy with our daily routine, it distracts us from the pain. At night we are relaxed and aren’t busy with anything so the pain comes at first and it becomes much more obvious than in the daytime.
The causes of a nocturnal toothache are nothing special – just basic dental diseases like caries, pulpitis, periodontitis etc. Each has its special characteristic of pain. Still, only your dentist is able to reveal the true reason for the pain.
Caries - The pain has a shooting character and occurs only when the tooth is pressed (for example, while biting).
Pulpitis - The pain pulses, can be constant or occasional, and sometimes spreads to the ear, jaw or temple.
Periodontal disease - Depending on the stage and localization, it can have different symptoms, including bleeding, teeth mobility, etc.
Gingivitis - Dull or pulsing pain together with swelling and reddening of the gums.
Periostitis - Dull or pulsing pain with no clear localization.
Low quality of recent dental treatment.
Is It Always Your Teeth?
Sometimes it may feel like a toothache to you but not actually be a toothache. The inflammatory processes in the soft tissues cause pain that spreads over the jaws and face and the feeling is very similar to a basic toothache. It can happen in cases of:
Trigeminal nerve inflammation - It runs near the dental roots and can hurt if squeezed or inflamed.
Ear or maxillary inflammation - The pus developing in the soft tissues in these processes, can press on the nerve endings in jaws and provoke pain.
Stresses - When a person lives in a constant stress, this can lead to a nocturnal toothache, especially if he or she has bruxism as the nervous reaction to stress.
When You Should Immediately Call Your Doctor
Some conditions cannot wait for the morning. Look for medical help immediately if you feel:
Massive swelling on one side of the jaw
Difficulty swallowing or breathing
Numbing or loss of sensitivity in the location of the pain
A severe headache, nausea, heart palpitations
Remember, your teeth hurt for a reason. If this cause is not revealed and treated, the problem may get worse and cause severe complications. Don’t neglect your pain and visit a dentist.