There are many causes of tooth erosion in modern life, including acidic beverages and foods. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a medical condition that can contribute to significant erosion of your dental enamel, but if your teeth have been damaged, cosmetic dentistry can be used to restore them and give you back your attractive smile.
What Is GERD?
GERD is a condition in which acid escapes from your stomach because the muscle at the top of the stomach doesn’t stay closed. Once out of your stomach, the acid becomes a gas that floats up into your throat and even your mouth. This leads to a painful, burning sensation, which we call heartburn. Although your throat tissues can heal, when the acid cloud reaches your mouth, the acid attacks your tooth enamel, the same way that acid excreted by bacteria does.
Although this happens occasionally to everyone, for people with GERD it can result in long-term serious damage to your teeth.
How GERD Affects Your Teeth
Unlike the acid produced by bacteria which attacks small parts of your teeth causing cavities, the acid clouds associated with GERD cause erosion of your teeth. This eats away all the enamel on your teeth evenly, and softens it in many other places, which can make it vulnerable to further damage by chewing and even by toothbrushing.
Erosion of your teeth works away your teeth from all edges. You may first notice the front teeth shortening and becoming discolored. They will also be narrowing, causing gaps in your smile to widen slightly. You may not notice it, but the cusps on your back teeth will be worn down, which may make your chewing less effective.
And as the enamel is all worn away, the yellowish dentin inside your tooth will begin to show through. In addition, your teeth may become sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure.
How We Restore Your Smile
Cosmetic dentistry techniques can be used to restore your front teeth to their original attractive shape, size, and color. Porcelain veneers are an excellent technique for this.
However, if more serious damage has been done to your teeth, reconstructive dentistry procedures like dental crowns may be called upon to restore the chewing surfaces of your teeth, give them back their strength, and stop sensitivity.
If your smile has been damaged by GERD or other causes of erosion, please call (702) 873-0324 for an appointment with Dr. James B. Polley.