Acid reflux refers to a condition in which the acidic contents of the stomach will move up and into the esophagus. This may result in an uncomfortable burning sensation known as heartburn. While this can develop on an acute basis in many people after a rich meal, some people may have a chronic issue known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
About one in five Americans can suffer from this condition. Constant acid regurgitation will not feel unpleasant, but it will also damage your esophagus and teeth over time. Lingering acid in the mouth will eat at the enamel, the outer layer of your teeth, resulting in irreversible damage.
GERD is known to cause dental erosion. But according to a study published in General Dentistry, this enamel erosion might sometimes be the only noticeable symptom of GERD in many people.
GERD will not always present with heartburn, but acid reflux can still harm your teeth. If you have enamel erosion, you might want to talk to your doctor about GERD. Learn more about the connection between GERD and your dental health by reading on.
Signs of Tooth Enamel Erosion
Enamel erosion can come with noticeable symptoms, including tooth discoloration. The tooth may appear dark, dull, or translucent where the enamel has thinned. You might also experience tooth sensitivity because worn enamel exposes nerves in the interior of the tooth.
However, these symptoms might not appear until enamel erosion grows severe. Make sure you visit your dentist on a regular basis so that they can identify this dental damage and intervene before it becomes extreme. Do not hesitate to give your dentist a call if you notice changes or abnormalities in your smile before your next dental check-up.
Dental Treatment for Eroded Enamel
Damaged tooth enamel will not regrow, but your dentist can help you restore structure to your teeth in the wake of dental erosion. They may use restorative dental tools to replace weakened enamel and recreate protection for your teeth.
For instance, porcelain veneers and dental crowns can both cover weakened areas of the tooth. This will alleviate oral discomfort, improve oral function, prevent further dental damage, and enhance the tooth’s appearance. Your dentist will evaluate your unique smile and determine which dental fixtures will best suit your oral health needs.
However, if you have GERD, enamel erosion may continue even after this dental restoration. If you already receive treatment for GERD but chronic dental erosion continues, the condition might be under-treated. You should consult with a doctor about this symptom to find appropriate ways to manage your condition and protect your smile.
Treatment for GERD may vary, but you might expect medications or changes in your lifestyle. Do not ignore symptoms of GERD, including ones that present in your smile. Protect your oral health and your overall well-being by talking to your health professionals. Call your dentist in Silver Spring, MD at 301.637.0960 to learn more.