Do Your Teeth Ever Hurt in the Morning? Here's Why

Kori Williams - Author

Oct. 20 2023, Published 2:43 p.m. ET

A man visiting the dentist about tooth pain.
Source: iStock

The Gist:

  • If you are having any kind of tooth pain, make sure to consult with your dentist.
  • There are many potential reasons for tooth pain, some don't have anything to do with your teeth.
  • Affordable dental care options can be available for those who need it.
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  • Tooth pain can be incredibly uncomfortable, but it can be even worse when it's the first thing you feel when you wake up. Not only is this an unfortunate way to start your day, but if you have work or other plans you can't avoid, it can be hours, if not days, before you can get it checked out.

  • If you are in pain, it's important that you see a dentist as soon as possible. But if you're wondering why your teeth hurt when you wake up, there could actually be a number of different reasons that would surprise you. Although we are not medical professionals, here are a few things to consider.

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    A woman sitting on a couch experiencing tooth pain.
    Source: iStock

    Why do my teeth hurt when I wake up?

    Unsurprisingly, if your teeth hurt, it could be because of issues with your mouth that affect your teeth. Healthline points out that bruxism or unconsciously grinding your teeth can cause pain. More specifically, sleep bruxism is when you grind your teeth while sleeping. In addition to the pain, sleep bruxism can cause jaw issues and headaches. The early stages of gum disease can also cause discomfort.

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    Additionally, Bethesda Family Dentistry states that some morning tooth pain can result from issues with your teeth themselves. An impacted tooth, cavity, or abscess can be an underlying reason for discomfort.

    A man sitting on a grey couch experiencing tooth pain.
    Source: iStock
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    Tooth pain could also be caused by a health condition called Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD). TMD refers to conditions that prevent your jaw joint from working properly. The National Library of Medicine says that the muscles connected to your temporomandibular joint and other jaw muscles can be affected by this disorder, which causes trouble chewing and creates unusual sounds in addition to the pain.

    Why do my front or bottom teeth hurt when I wake up?

    If you are having tooth pain but only from certain teeth, it could be because of an issue with those particular teeth. As stated earlier, you could have a cavity or something that a dentist needs to look at.

    To avoid issues with grinding your teeth, consider a nightguard, which protects your teeth while you wear it.

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    However, nightguards aren't the best idea for everyone. Mill Creek Dentistry points out that these devices only treat the symptoms of a problem, not the problem itself. According to Cedars Sinai, people can grind their teeth at night for all kinds of reasons, including sleep apnea, acid reflux, or certain medications.

    A woman at the dentist office experiencing tooth pain.
    Source: iStock

    At the end of the day, seeing a dentist about these concerns is important. But if you need help affording it, consider contacting your local government. In New York City, you can call 311 for various resources. Many dental offices now offer payment plans and other methods to help people get the medical treatment needed without breaking the bank.

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