Painful Teeth Upon Waking?

What causes some people to notice that their teeth hurt more first thing in the morning?

Foxhall Dental PracticeIt might seem a little strange but some people find that their teeth feel uncomfortable when they wake up but then any discomfort eases as the day progresses. One obvious reason might be because they have taken painkillers for it which have worn off overnight, but presuming that not to be the case, why do people experience this?

In fact, there are many possible reasons why your teeth may be more uncomfortable in the morning and, whatever that reason, you should contact the Foxhall Dental Practice if this happens to you so that your teeth can be thoroughly examined. Below, we take a look at some of the possible reasons for painful morning teeth.


Bruxism, or grinding of teeth, generally, although not exclusively, occurs when we are asleep. There are a number of theories why this should be the case but it is widely thought to be related to stress and that the teeth grinding might act as a bit of a ‘release valve’ for built up stress and tension. Either way, it can cause some serious harm to our teeth. Most commonly, the enamel is worn away, making teeth more sensitive and prone to decay, but teeth can also crack or even break. It is possible that this might be causing the discomfort and you should see one of our Ipswich dentists to have your teeth checked.

Sinus problems

If it is your rear teeth that are causing you discomfort, it could be caused by a sinus infection. Your sinus cavities are situated directly over the top rear teeth and fluid can build up in this area if you have an infection. This often causes pressure which then affects the teeth. You will need to see your GP if this is the case, who will provide treatment for it which should reduce the discomfort.

Tooth decay

This is perhaps the most obvious cause but why do we notice it more in the morning? There is no physical reason, other than the wearing off of any painkillers. It may simply be the fact that when we first wake, our minds are usually relatively empty of thoughts and so it is the first thing that we notice. Unless it is a very severe toothache, we may notice any discomfort easing as the day goes on as we become distracted by family and work matters. This can sometimes lead people to think that the problem has gone away and that all is OK; that is, until they wake up the next morning with the same problem. You should never ignore even a relatively minor toothache and see your local dentist as soon as possible.

Gum disease

Although this may not, initially at least, directly affect your teeth, it can certainly lead to quite painful gums. Although many people believe that bleeding gums is the only symptom of gum disease, the reality is that they can be very sore, red and inflamed too. As you can imagine, this can be very uncomfortable. Gum disease should not be considered as little more than an inconvenience. If allowed to progress, it can damage the bone that secures the teeth in place and may lead to you having wobbly teeth or even losing some of them.


An abscess occurs when you have an infection that causes a collection of pus to form. This is often very uncomfortable and can lead to a painful throbbing sensation. A fever can also occur and you should always see a dentist if you think you have an abscess forming, either in the tooth roots or the surrounding gum tissue.

Impacted teeth

When a tooth fails to erupt because of its position or is being ‘blocked’ by another tooth, it is said to be ‘impacted’. This sometimes happens when the teeth are too crowded in the mouth. This can be very painful and can also lead to infections, especially if it partly erupts in a position which makes it difficult to keep clean. Wisdom teeth are especially vulnerable to this and you may need to have them extracted if this occurs.

Whatever time of the day you notice a toothache, you shouldn’t ignore it, even if it more or less vanishes as the day goes on. Any pain or discomfort should be taken as a warning sign that there is a problem that will almost certainly only get worse if you ignore it.

With good home cleaning and regular check ups with one of our Ipswich dentists, you should hopefully not suffer from these problems. If you would like to see a dentist, either for a check up or to address a specific problem, please call the Foxhall Dental Practice today on 01473 258396.