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Why Do My Teeth Hurt in the Morning?

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teeth hurt in the morning

You wake up in the morning with a sharp pain in your teeth. And before your day has even begun, you’re on the backfoot. So, do you put aside everything on your agenda and go in to see the dentist? Or can it wait? And if this is a recurrent problem, you might be wondering – Why do my teeth hurt in the morning? Read on to find out what could be going on and whether you should see the dentist right away.

Is it normal for your teeth to hurt after waking up?

It is not normal for teeth to hurt when you wake up. However, it is a common symptom. Many different things can make your teeth hurt in the morning, including oral health issues and other health conditions.

Why do my teeth hurt in the morning when I wake up?

Here are some of the most common causes that can make your teeth hurt in the morning:


Bruxism the medical term for teeth grinding. It is a common cause that makes teeth hurt in the morning because many people grind their teeth during sleep. Besides making your teeth hurt when you wake up, bruxism can cause other problems like jaw pain, facial pain, and headaches. Your dentist can diagnose bruxism during a regular dental exam by noticing if the enamel is worn down. Some of the treatment options for bruxism include stress management techniques, short- term treatment with muscle relaxants, and Botox injections.

Tooth decay and cavities can make teeth hurt in the morning

Tooth decay eats away at the enamel and dentin in your teeth. This can expose and irritate the nerves within your teeth, causing tooth pain. If bacteria enter inside your tooth, the pulp infection can be very painful. If your teeth hurt in the morning, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist can fill the cavities and this should provide relief from your symptoms.

Gum disease

Severe gum disease is called periodontitis. It occurs due to buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth, which causes infection and inflammation the gums, if left untreated. Symptoms of gum disease may include bad breath and red, swollen, bleeding gums which can be mistaken for toothache. When it is severe, periodontitis can cause loosening of the teeth and tooth loss.

Tooth abscess

A toot abscess is a bacterial infection of the pulp (internal soft tissues) of a tooth. Symptoms include tooth pain, facial pain, fever, swollen glands in the neck, and bad breath. It’s important to have a tooth abscess treated as soon as possible to prevent the infection from spreading to surrounding teeth and bone. If your teeth hurt in the morning and you have other symptoms of a dental abscess, see your dentist as soon as possible.

Impaction can make teeth hurt in the morning

When a tooth does not have enough room to erupt properly, it is called an impacted tooth. Impaction can cause pressure and pain at the affected site. This can make your teeth hurt in the morning and throughout the day. This type of tooth pain is more likely to occur in the area of the third molars (here’s why they’re called wisdom teeth). Without treatment, an impacted tooth can become infected, so it’s important to see your dentist and have the tooth pulled if needed.


This is a condition in which there is infection and inflammation of the sinuses (air-filled cavities in the head). Swelling up of the nasal sinuses can put pressure on the teeth, making your teeth hurt in the morning. In fact, it’s quite common for teeth to hurt when you’re sick with the flu or sinusitis. Other symptoms that point towards this problem include pain and pressure in the areas around your nose, headache, postnasal drip, and fever. Allergy medicines, decongestants, nasal steroids, saline nasal sprays, and over-the-counter pain medications can provide relief from symptoms.

Temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ)

TMJ syndrome is an inflammatory condition of the jaw and surrounding structures. It can make your teeth hurt in the morning as well as when you chew, grind your teeth, or open your mouth wide. Bruxism (teeth grinding) can lead to TMJ disorder and the symptoms are typically worse in the morning in this case.

How do I stop my teeth from hurting in the morning?

Follow a good oral hygiene routine to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. If you have bruxism or TMJ syndrome, make an appointment to see your dentist and get the condition treated. Sinusitis is usually a self-limited condition, but if your teeth continue to hurt when you wake up, make sure you are evaluated, diagnosed properly, and treated for the underlying condition causing your symptoms.

Whether your teeth hurt in the morning or you’ve fallen behind on regular dental checkups, there’s no better time to make up for lost ground and get relief from your symptoms. Call Express Dentist today and we will be happy to put you in touch with a dentist in your area.

About the author

Dr Greg Grillo
Dr. Greg Grillo

Dr. Greg Grillo DDS studied at the University of Washington where he received a bachelors degree with Honors and later attended dental school on the same campus. Following school Dr. Greg served in the United States Navy as a dental officer. During this time he received advanced training in specialty areas of dentistry while also treating families of members of the military.

As well as sharing valuable information on dentistry and oral health, Dr. Greg remains a practicing dentist to this day. He works with families in the Okanogan Valley where he lives with his wife and three children.

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