Acid Reflux Can Harm Your Teeth and As a General Dentist We Can Protect Them

General DentistAs a general dentist, we treat a lot of patients that suffer from erosion due to acid reflux.  Most people don’t realize that if they have stomach issues they will probably have oral health problems, as well.  Even if they don’t manifest themselves immediately, they will occur eventually.  This is because the acid, that comes up from your stomach, will start to attack your teeth.  Just like if you sucked on lemons every day, the acid will start to eat away at your enamel.

Enamel is critical for the protection of your teeth.  It is the outer layer of your teeth that covers the dentin underneath.  Dentin is full of tiny holes that contain nerve endings.  When food, liquids and the air touch the nerve endings a pain signal is sent to the brain.  This is what can lead to sudden discomfort while eating.  If the enamel is only slightly worn, it can be treated with a bonding procedure or sealant.  If, however, the damage is more severe the treatment will be as well.

A dental crown may be necessary for protecting a tooth that has suffered severe reflux-induced erosion.  In its advanced stage, the erosion can become so severe that the tooth experiences bone loss, becoming weak and brittle and potentially getting a hole inside of it.  A dental crown can potentially save the tooth because a crown is a cap that surrounds the tooth entirely.  This way nothing can touch your natural tooth, reducing the risk of further damage or infection.  Dental crowns come in both silver amalgam and ceramic so this solution can work for all of your teeth, regardless of where in the mouth they are located. As a general dentist, we will examine your teeth, let you know what stage they are in and what the best course of treatment will be.

We also recommend that you visit your general physician in order to get medication that can help to control your stomach acid.  By taking a pill once a day, you may be able to keep it under control and reduce your risk of erosion.  You can also take over the counter antacids and use soy or almond milk to help during an acid attack.  Over time, you can further reduce how frequently you have an episode by adjusting your diet. Pay attention to how you feel after eating, and if your stomach acid gets worse with certain foods, write it down so that you can avoid that food in the future.  By adjusting your diet, you can feel better overall and help to protect your teeth.

If you suffer from severe reflux, make sure that you visit our office for a teeth cleaning a minimum of two times a year, preferably four.  This way we can identify erosion as it happens and provide treatment right away before you experience discomfort or other major dental issues.  The sooner we can treat you the better you will feel.  For more information or to schedule an appointment, call our general dentist office today.

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