Acid reflux refers to a common condition affecting about 20% of adults in the United States. This happens when the acidic contents of the stomach move up into the esophagus briefly. The resulting burning sensation, known as heartburn, can feel deeply uncomfortable. But it may also pose a threat to your dental health.
Acid regurgitation can damage not just your esophagus but your teeth as well. Lingering acid in the mouth will erode the enamel, the hard outer layer of your teeth. Once weakened, the enamel will not regenerate, so you will have lasting dental damage.
If acid reflux becomes chronic, you may have a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It frequently leaves patients with dental erosion. But sometimes, GERD will hurt your teeth without other noticeable symptoms like heartburn.
To protect your teeth, you will need to manage chronic health conditions like GERD. Learn more about GERD and its impact on your smile by reading on.
Signs of Dental Erosion
Dental erosion leaves you with a weakening in your teeth that will put you at risk of cavities and other oral health concerns. But you can notice signs in your teeth that point to enamel damage prior to that point.
For instance, when the enamel wears down, you might see some dark or white discoloration where the enamel thins or weakens. The tooth may also appear translucent in this spot of the tooth.
You might also notice tooth sensitivity pain if this happens. This is because weakened enamel can expose underlying nerves within the tooth. If an external stimulus, like food, touches these nerves, they transmit pain signals to the brain.
Make sure that you attend routine check-ups at your dentist’s office because the dentist can spot signs of dental erosion beyond these clear visible symptoms. Early intervention for this dental damage can help you avoid serious, irreversible harm to your smile.
Restore Your Smile After Enamel Erosion
As mentioned, tooth enamel cannot regrow. But your dentist can restore your dental structure in the wake of dental erosion by replacing lost enamel. For instance, they may give you a custom-made dental crown to cover the surface of the tooth.
The ceramic cap serves to shield weak spots in the enamel, ensuring no further harm can come to the tooth. You can count on long-lasting restoration from this treatment because the durable crown stays in place with dental cement.
However, you should take measures to preserve your natural smile by managing GERD and acid reflux. If you show signs of enamel erosion even while treating GERD, you may need to adjust your treatment to better stop this from happening.
Treatment for chronic acid reflux may require medication or lifestyle changes. If you want to preserve your dental health, you should not ignore any symptoms of this condition. And make sure you maintain regular preventative oral health care by attending dental check-ups.