Tooth decay is a very common cause of a toothache. Tooth decay may lead to cavities if a person does not receive treatment.
Cavities occur when acids and bacteria break through the enamel and eat away at the delicate tissues inside the tooth. This can expose the nerve, causing mild-to-severe pain.
While fluoride is very beneficial to the protection of the teeth to prevent cavities, overexposure to fluoride can lead to a cosmetic condition known as fluorosis.
Sinus infections may also cause toothache in some people. This symptom occurs as the infection drains from the head. Symptoms such as pain and pressure from the infection may hurt more at night.
Other potential causes for a toothache include:
losing a filling
trauma to the jaw
a wisdom tooth or adult tooth coming in
food stuck in the teeth or gums
grinding the teeth at night
Why do some toothaches hurt more at night?
Toothaches can be painful in the day, but they may seem to get worse at night.
One reason that this may occur is because when a person is lying down, blood rushes to the head. This extra blood in the area may increase the pain and pressure that people feel from a toothache.
Another reason why many aches feel worse at night is because there are fewer distractions. With little else to focus on but the toothache, a person may find it difficult to fall asleep.
When to see a dentist
People with a toothache at night should see a dentist as soon as possible. Any home remedies are only for temporary relief.
If the toothache also comes with other signs of an infection, a person may need antibiotics to clear out the infection.
When a cracked or decaying tooth is causing the pain, a person should see their dentist. They will be able to find a permanent solution.
Ignoring the signs of tooth decay, such as an aching tooth, may lead to more serious issues, including abscesses, gum disease, and tooth loss.