Do you have heartburn, difficulty swallowing, or a sensation of a lump in your throat? If so, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). You'll want to visit your doctor to get a firm diagnosis of your symptoms. GERD occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. Besides causing the previously mentioned symptoms, GERD can cause dental issues as well. Read on to learn more about how GERD affects your oral health and how a cosmetic dentist could help.
What Does GERD do to Your Oral Health?
Some people with GERD may notice yellow discoloration on their teeth. When stomach acid flows back up the esophagus, it can erode your enamel over time. Your enamel protects the living tissues underneath your teeth, so if it wears down, you can be vulnerable to cavities and tooth sensitivity—especially when you eat hot or cold foods. One study found that GERD could be a risk factor for chronic periodontitis, or gum disease. In very extreme cases, GERD could increase the risk of tooth loss or dental abscesses.
How Can a Cosmetic Dentist Help?
Cosmetic dentists have a number of services that can help you restore teeth that have been affected by GERD. For instance, you could undergo a bite reclamation, veneer, crown, or bonding procedure.
During a bite reclamation procedure, your dentist will add multiple fillings to worn teeth to restore their proper anatomy and length. Bite reclamations are especially helpful for patients who've lost vertical dimension in their faces from worn chewing surfaces.
Veneers are thin shells made of porcelain that are adhered to the anterior surfaces of teeth. One great benefit of porcelain veneers is that they are very resistant to stomach acids, like hydrochloric acid, so they can last a long time and protect underlying enamel.
If GERD is causing such wear and tear on your teeth that you have extensive decay, then crowns may be necessary. Unlike veneers that only cover one aspect of a tooth, crowns completely encompass enamel and prevent further decay.
If you have very minimal tooth damage from GERD, bonding can be a great way to repair any small holes, chips, or cracks to the enamel surface. During bonding, your dentist will use a curing light to attach resin to your teeth.
What Can You Do to Prevent Further Issues?
GERD symptoms can be relieved if you avoid certain foods/beverages, like coffee, alcohol, or fatty/fried foods. You may be tempted to immediately brush your teeth after a GERD episode, but you shouldn't since you could brush the stomach acid further into porous enamel. Instead, you should wait and just rinse your mouth out with water. You may also want to ask your dentist about desensitizing toothpastes and occlusal guards for nighttime GERD incidences.
Reach out to a cosmetic dentist for more details.