7 Reasons for Tooth Pain in the Morning

7 Reasons for Tooth Pain in the Morning

Do you ever wake up in the morning with tooth pain? Why does your mouth hurt when you wake up in the morning? It is not uncommon for people to experience tooth pain first thing in the morning. But what causes it? And how can you avoid it? In this blog post, we will discuss 7 reasons why people experience tooth pain in the morning and what they can do about it!


woman grinding her teeth in bed

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding disorder, is characterized by the jaw muscles clenching and unclenching. Teeth grind together with enough force to cause wear on the teeth, damage to the gums, pain through your jaw and neck, headaches and even damaged nerve endings in your jaw. Since bruxism occurs at night while sleeping, it is a common cause of tooth pain in the morning.


Cavities are holes in the enamel that form when bacteria cause the enamel to decay. When not treated, cavities can continue to develop until bacteria reaches the inside of the tooth. If the bacteria reaches the inside of a tooth, it has access to your nerves and can cause extreme pain.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is caused by an infection in the gums that causes the gums to become red, swollen, and tender. This can also cause pain in the teeth around the inflamed gum tissue. When gum disease is left untreated, the damage to your teeth and gums will only get worse over time and it could result in tooth loss.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a condition that affects the jaw joints and often causes pain in the jaw, face, and neck. TMD is often made worse by bruxism and these two conditions are often closely related. As such, TMD can also cause tooth pain that is worse in the morning, as well as morning headaches.

sinus cavities over a woman's face

Impacted Teeth

A tooth impaction is a situation where a tooth is unable to erupt from the gums, usually due a lack of space. The term “impacted” means that there is some type of obstacle preventing normal growth or movement of one part so that it stays underneath or beneath something else. Compared to regular growths, which will just push through whatever they’re growing into, impacted teeth typically require dental intervention to prevent it from pushing against, and potentially damaging, other teeth. Impactions can cause tooth pain when the impacted tooth pushes up against the roots of the surrounding teeth, or when an infection has formed in the gums.


Sinusitis is a chronic inflammation of one or both sinuses that is usually caused by an infection or allergy. Since the sinus cavities are located just above the upper jaw, sinusitis may cause tooth pain from sinus pressure pushing against the tooth nerve. Other symptoms of sinusitis include pain around eyes, forehead, top of head; tenderness in cheek; loss of sense of smell; discharge (sneeze) may contain pus (purulent), and sinus headache.

Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess is an accumulation of pus that forms when bacteria gets inside a tooth. Tooth abscesses can also form at the base of the tooth roots. A tooth abscess will cause pain in the infected tissue, which might also get swollen or red around the area.

The 7 most common reasons for teeth pain when waking up include bruxism, cavities, gum disease, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), impacted teeth, sinusitis and tooth abscesses. If you’re experiencing any type of toothache or discomfort after waking up – whether it’s your front-to-back molars that hurt or an aching cheekbone – make sure to see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dental health is important!

Photo of Dr. Admar

Dr. Admar holds dual certificates — a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) in 2010 from India and a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) in 2014 from Canada. He is now a full time practicing dentist in Kamloops where he provides a variety of services, including emergency dentistry. Dr. Admar spends hundreds of hours in continued dental education to stay up to date in cosmetic and implant dentistry and he has achieved several advanced qualifications.

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