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7 Reasons for Tooth Pain in the Morning

7 Reasons for Tooth Pain in the Morning

Getting up in the morning and having your first cup of coffee is often a pleasant way to start the day. But what happens when you wake up with tooth pain? Morning tooth pain is a common and frustrating problem. Why do we wake up with a sore, throbbing feeling in one or more of our teeth? There are many reasons for this issue. This blog post will explore the top 7 reasons for waking up with tooth pain.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums that occurs when plaque buildup on teeth causes inflammation. As a result of inflammation, the gums around your teeth can become red, swollen, and tender. This can be mistaken for tooth pain and it can eventually cause your teeth to become sore or loose.


Another common reason for waking up with tooth pain is cavities. Cavities form when decay-causing bacteria eat away at your enamel and dentin. This can allow stimuli to irritate the tooth nerve, which causes pain. If bacteria is able to enter the tooth, then it can cause a painful pulp infection. For this reason, it is recommended to have cavities filled as soon as possible.


Impaction is a common dental issue that occurs when a tooth does not have enough room to erupt from under the gums. This can cause pressure and pain around the eruption site. This pain may only occur in the morning or it may persist throughout the day. Oftentimes, the third molars (wisdom teeth) can become impacted, as well as the maxillary canines. Since impactions can eventually result in infection, it is recommended to see your dentist if you suspect an impaction is responsible for your tooth pain.


Sinusitis is an illness that can cause tooth pain in the morning. Sinusitis is caused by inflammation or infection of nasal sinuses, which are air-filled cavities behind your nose and above your upper teeth. When these become infected, they swell up and press on nerves in your face – including those around your teeth – causing pain when you wake up in the morning. There are other symptoms that may also point towards this diagnosis: headaches (especially ones that begin at the back of your head), cough, postnasal drip,  pain in the face, and fever.


Chronic teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is an extremely common reason for waking up with tooth pain. Many people grind their teeth at night while they are sleeping without even realizing it. Oftentimes, dentists diagnose bruxism during regular dental exams when they evaluate the tooth enamel and notice that it is worn down. Bruxism can cause tooth pain, jaw pain, and general facial pain. Some people also wake up with headaches. If this sounds like something that has been happening with you then make sure to see a dentist.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) is a condition in which the jaw joint and surrounding structures become inflamed and painful. This can also cause tooth pain because when we chew, our jaw muscles use force to grind the teeth together. TMD is also a common complication of bruxism since bruxism places strain on the jaw joint. If you have TMD then your symptoms may be worse in the morning or they might become more severe when you open your mouth wide.

Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess is a painful condition that occurs when bacteria infects the pulp of your teeth or surrounding gums, which can lead to an infection. Symptoms include fever, swollen glands in the neck and jaw area, facial pain near the infected tooth, unexplained bad breath (halitosis), and a tooth that hurts to bite on. If you have an abscess, make sure to see your dentist immediately because the infection can continue to spread to the surrounding teeth and can be detrimental to your oral health.

If you wake up with tooth pain in the morning, there are a number of reasons why it can happen. Some people experience tooth pain due to cavities or gum disease. Others may suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) which causes inflammation and muscle strain around your jaw joints. Tooth abscesses can also cause this type of discomfort, as well as sinusitis. If any one of these explanations sounds like something that’s been happening to you then make sure to see a dentist before things get worse!

Dr. Roman Fedorciw has been in private practice in Cromwell since 1991. He is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the American Dental Association. He is also a member of the Connecticut Dental Association and Middlesex County Dental Association. Dr. Fedorciw has been acknowledged by his peers as one of the “Top Dentists” in Hartford County by Hartford Magazine and in the state of Connecticut by Connecticut Magazine.