How to Get Rid of Toothache

Dealing with toothache at night can be a real challenge, making sleeping difficult and adding to your overall discomfort. Sometimes, a visit to the dentist is not possible, and you need to find a temporary solution to alleviate pain.

Fortunately, there are methods you can use at home that provide relief and that are effective in managing toothache. 

Read on to discover the techniques that can help you get a restful night’s sleep, even with toothache.

Causes of Nighttime Toothache

If you’re woken by a throbbing pain in your mouth, understanding the causes of nighttime toothache can help you find relief. Various factors can lead to this condition and they should always be addressed.

Tooth Decay

If you have plaque build-up on your teeth, it eats away at your enamel. You may therefore be experiencing tooth decay. 

Another cause related to decay is a dental filling that has detached itself, exposing the nerves on your teeth.

When decay reaches the pulp or nerve of the tooth, it may cause a sharp, throbbing pain, especially noticeable when you’re trying to sleep.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, can cause your gums to recede, exposing the roots of your teeth.

When the roots are exposed, they become excessively sensitive and cause discomfort or pain, which can become more pronounced during peaceful nighttime hours.

Dental Abscess and Infection

A dental abscess is a pocket of pus resulting from the body’s efforts to combat the bacterial infection.

This often leads to severe and persistent throbbing pain that can intensify at night when you’re lying down due to increased blood pressure to the head.

Growth of Wisdom Teeth

When there isn’t enough space in your mouth for your wisdom teeth to erupt properly, they can become impacted, causing swelling, infection, and significant discomfort.

Pain from impacted wisdom teeth can be more noticeable at night when other distractions are few.

Sinus Infections

Sinus problems may not directly impact your teeth, but they can still cause a toothache.

The pressure build-up within your sinuses can lead to discomfort in your upper teeth, leading to a condition often mistaken as a toothache during the night.

Teeth Grinding

When you’re dealing with stress and anxiety, your body may respond by causing you to grind or clench your teeth during sleep, a condition known as bruxism.

Over time, this can wear down tooth enamel and lead to tooth sensitivity or severe toothache.

Symptoms That Accompany Toothache

Understanding the symptoms that accompany a toothache could be crucial in pinpointing the exact cause and in seeking appropriate treatment in a timely fashion.


When experiencing a toothache at night, additional symptoms may be present. Swelling around the affected tooth or area can be a common issue.

This may result from inflammation of the gums, tooth root, or nearby tissues.


If you’re experiencing a toothache along with bleeding, it could be a sign of periodontal disease or gum recession.

The weakened tissues could bleed spontaneously or when you’re brushing or flossing, pointing to potential dental health issues that cause toothaches.

Foul-Tasting Discharge

If you’re experiencing a foul-tasting discharge along with your toothache, it might indicate a dental abscess. This occurs when pus leaks out of the infected tooth into your mouth, resulting in a unique, unpleasant taste.

This symptom should not be ignored, as dental abscesses can lead to more severe complications.


In some cases, a toothache can accompany a fever, especially if there’s an infection involved.

This is your body’s response to fighting off infection, and it can indicate a more serious condition like a dental abscess that requires immediate medical attention.

Trouble Breathing

While uncommon, difficulty in breathing coupled with a toothache is a serious symptom that could indicate an infection spreading to places it shouldn’t, like your throat or chest. If a tooth infection extends into these areas, it can cause swelling and obstructions that impede normal breathing.

Home Remedies for Temporary Relief

Managing a toothache can often be a stressful situation, but home remedies can provide temporary relief.

These Do-It-Yourself solutions are effective in lessening the pain or discomfort you experience, affording you some respite until you’re able to visit a dental professional for appropriate medical treatment.

Apply Pressure

Applying pressure to the affected area using pressure points can help alleviate toothache pain.

Biting on a clean cloth or pressing on the cheeks where the toothache is present can help relieve the pain sensation.

Massaging the hand webbing between your thumb and forefinger can help distract your nerves from the toothache and temporarily lessen the discomfort.

Elevate Your Head

When lying down, blood flow to your head increases, which can exacerbate your toothache.

By elevating your head with extra pillows, you can reduce blood flow to the area, providing temporary relief.

Ice Pack or Cold Compress

The cold temperature of an ice pack or cold compress against your face can numb the area and reduce any swelling, providing immediate, temporary relief.

Hold it for 15 to a maximum of 20 minutes to achieve results. Remember to allow around 15 minutes to rest from the compress before re-applying, in order to prevent rebound effects.

Salt Water Rinse

A rinse with warm salt water can help cleanse the mouth and drain any pus brought about by a dental infection, thereby reducing pain. It acts as a natural disinfectant and offers temporary pain relief.

Gargle and swish the dissolved warm water and salt solution in your mouth for around 30 seconds. Repeat this process as needed.


Chewing a clove of garlic or applying minced garlic to your aching tooth can help reduce the pain.

As an effective natural cure, garlic is known for its antiseptic and antibacterial qualities.

Clove and Clove Oil

The active ingredient in cloves, eugenol, has natural anesthetic and antibacterial properties. Applying clove oil to a throbbing tooth can numb the area and alleviate pain.

Apply several drops onto a cotton swab and lightly dab it onto the affected area where the toothache is occurring.

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint has a numbing property, which can soothe toothache.

Swishing lukewarm peppermint tea around your mouth or applying a tea bag to the affected area could offer immediate relief.

Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme oil offers natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Its application can help kill bacteria, reduce swelling, and lower pain levels associated with toothaches.

Use a cotton ball to apply a mix of thyme essential oil with olive or coconut oil directly on the affected tooth.

Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse

A 3% hydrogen peroxide solution can help relieve pain and inflammation. It can kill bacteria, reduce plaque, and heal bleeding gums. However, it is important that it’s not swallowed. It is generally not advised to be used for children under 12.

Create a solution by combining equal amounts of water and 3% hydrogen peroxide. Use this mixture as a mouth rinse, swishing it around in your mouth for approximately 30 seconds. Proceed to rinse your mouth with water.

Povidone-Iodine Gargle

Gargling with a povidone-iodine solution can offer relief for toothache. Its antiseptic properties may help reduce oral bacteria, minimizing infection-related pain. 

Dilute the solution as directed for safe use, or use a variant that is pre-mixed as a gargle.


To alleviate toothache at night, several over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription pain medications can provide relief. Remember to speak with your dentist for further guidance and long-term toothache treatment.

Pain and Swelling Medication

Pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can provide temporary relief from toothache discomfort by reducing inflammation and alleviating pain signals. 

It’s important to follow recommended dosage guidelines and consult with a healthcare professional if the pain persists.

Topical Anesthetics

Topical anesthetics can provide temporary relief from toothache pain. These products, available over-the-counter, deliver targeted relief at the source of pain. 

These can help dull the pain temporarily. Apply directly to the affected area for optimal results.


Sometimes, toothache may be caused by infection. In these cases, antibiotics may be necessary for relief and treatment. These prescription medications need to be taken strictly as directed and under the supervision of the healthcare provider.

Consult with your dentist to determine if antibiotics are appropriate for your situation.

Professional Dental Treatment

Experiencing a toothache at night underscores the importance of immediately scheduling an appointment with your dentist. 

They can assess your situation and provide appropriate treatments for severely damaged teeth.

Dental Fillings

If your toothache is caused by decay reaching the dentin or inner layers of your tooth, your dentist may recommend a filling. 

Following the extraction of decay and any compromised portions of the tooth, the dentist will employ a sealing material like amalgam or composite resin to fill the resultant cavity, thereby restoring the tooth to facilitate a proper bite. 

This not only stops further decay but also eliminates the source of your pain, providing relief from the toothache.

Root Canals

If tooth decay or infection has reached the pulp or innermost part of the tooth, your dentist might suggest a root canal.

In this process, the dentist eliminates all inflamed or infected pulp and subsequently cleans and disinfects the inner portion of the tooth. The dentist will fill it to prevent any food or liquid from entering the tooth and seal it off.

The objective of a root canal is to preserve the natural tooth while simultaneously removing  the sources of pain. Though it has a reputation for being painful, most people report that the procedure is no more painful than having a filling done.

Tooth Extraction

If the tooth has been significantly damaged by decay or trauma and can’t be restored, your dentist might opt for extraction. By removeing the offending tooth, the source of your pain is eliminated.

This process will alleviate your toothache, but it’s usually considered a last resort after other treatment options have been exhausted.

Mouth Care to Prevent Toothache

Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is an essential line of defense against tooth pain or discomfort. Here’s how you maintain good oral hygiene to prevent toothaches:

Brush Your Teeth

Start by brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush, ensuring thorough cleaning to remove plaque and bacteria.

When brushing, angle the bristles at a 45-degree angle to clean your gum line effectively. Remember to rinse properly to ensure that no debris is left to start a decay or infection.

Start Flossing

Flossing should also be a crucial part of your everyday routine, as it helps remove trapped food particles and plaque that brushing might miss.

Aim to floss at least once a day. Use this opportunity to inspect your teeth and gums and consult your dentist immediately if there are any observations.

Use a Mouthwash

Consider using a mouthwash with an antibacterial agent to help reduce bacteria further and prevent tooth decay. Rinse your mouth for 30 seconds, then spit it out. Do this once or twice a day.

Another option to consider is a hydrogen peroxide rinse. This works as an antibacterial agent and can help to whiten teeth.

Combine equal quantities of water and hydrogen peroxide, swish this solution in your mouth for about sixty seconds, and then spit.

Limit Sugary and Acidic Foods

Limit sugary and acidic foods that can damage tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay.

After consuming high-sugar or acidic meals, rinse your mouth with warm water to wash away any remaining food particles and protect your teeth.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common causes of nighttime toothache?

Some common causes include stress and anxiety leading to grinding or clenching of teeth, tooth decay, and gum disease.

Sinus infections, dental abscesses, and impacted wisdom teeth are less common but are the usual presentations when a patient visits the dentist.

What symptoms can accompany a toothache?

Toothache can be accompanied by red or swollen gums, bleeding, fever, difficulty breathing, and a foul-tasting discharge.

These symptoms can help pinpoint the exact cause of the toothache.

What are some home remedies for temporary relief from toothaches?

Some home remedies that can provide temporary relief include applying pressure or an ice pack to the affected area and elevating the head during sleep.

You can also try using natural options like garlic, peppermint tea, and thyme essential oil and rinsing the mouth with salt water or hydrogen peroxide solution.

What are some professional dental treatments for toothaches?

If the toothache is severe or persists for a long time, professional dental treatments will be necessary.

These can include tooth extraction, fillings, and root canal procedures.

How can good oral hygiene prevent a toothache?

Oral hygiene is highly important to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, daily flossing, and using antibacterial mouthwash prevent issues like cavities. 

Mindful diet choices and limiting sugary and acidic foods contribute to a pain-free, healthy oral environment.