7 Reasons for Tooth Pain in the Morning

7 Reasons for Tooth Pain in the Morning

What is the worst thing you can wake up to? Tooth pain might be it! Do you wake up in the morning with a pain in your tooth? Do you wonder why it hurts when it’s not bothering you at night? Well, there are many reasons for this. This blog post will go into detail about seven of them. You can take care of these problems yourself or see a dentist to fix the problem.

woman grinding her teeth in bed


Sleep bruxism is when you grind or clench your teeth at night. Many people grind their teeth in their sleep and are completely unaware that they do so. Besides causing tooth pain, sleep bruxism can also cause you to wake up with headaches, jaw pain, or ear pain. It can also cause your teeth to become worn, chipped, or cracked. Your dentist can take a look in your mouth to see if there are any signs of grinding or worn down areas around the teeth. If they believe you are grinding your teeth, they will prescribe a nightguard to protect your teeth and jaw.


This is an inflammation or swelling of the sinuses. It can lead to tooth pain, specifically in the upper back teeth that are just below the sinus cavities. Sinusitis can cause other symptoms such as a headache, facial pain, bad breath, stuffy nose, fatigue, fever, or cough. If you have tooth pain and your dentist doesn’t find anything, then a trip to your doctor’s office may be needed.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

TMD is used to describe pain or dysfunction that occurs in the jaw joint. Besides causing morning tooth pain, you may also have pain in the face, neck, and head. You may also hear a clicking noise or popping sounds when you open your mouth or chew, and you may have trouble chewing. Sleep bruxism is a main contributor to TMD, so a nightguard from your dentist is recommended.


If there is a cavity then it’s going to hurt whether you’re awake or asleep! Of course, it is more noticeable when you are awake. Untreated cavities can continue to get worse until they reach the inside of the tooth. This causes a painful pulp infection.

Gum Disease

This is a problem with the gums and can lead to tooth pain as well. Plaque builds up on teeth that cause inflammation of the gum tissue which leads to bleeding, swelling, and bad breath.

impacted tooth

Impacted Tooth

Impacted teeth are teeth that are not able to erupt out from under the gums due to a lack of space. Wisdom teeth can commonly become impacted since there is rarely enough space in the mouth. An impacted tooth can cause swelling, redness, and pain in the gums, as well as a dull ache in the jaw.

Tooth Abscess

An abscessed tooth occurs when there is a bacterial infection in your teeth or gums. This causes a pocket of pus to form at the base of the tooth root or in the gums around the tooth. Tooth abscesses generally cause an intense, throbbing pain and should be dealt with immediately.

It’s not uncommon to wake up in the morning with tooth pain, but thankfully there are many reasons for this. The most common culprits for feeling tooth pain when you first awake is bruxism or sinusitis. However, if your dentist doesn’t find anything wrong and it continues to happen then TMJ, cavities, gum disease, impacted teeth or an abscessed tooth may be at play. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms it would be wise to see your dentist as soon as possible.

Dr Alina Huang DMD

Dr. Alina Huang has been practicing dentistry in Manhattan for the last eight years. She was born in New York City, and raised in California where she received her Bachelor’s degree at UCLA, and her D.D.S. at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She then made her return to NYC where she completed her General Practice Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and has been working in private practice ever since. She continues her learning by attending courses to stay current with the latest advancements in dentistry and refine her skills.