Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be a major cause of tooth erosion. It can dramatically shorten front teeth, smooth out rear teeth, and discolor your teeth. Porcelain veneers are a great treatment if your teeth have been damaged by GERD.
What Is GERD?
GERD is when the muscle that is supposed to keep the acid in your stomach can’t stay closed properly. This allows acid to escape into your throat. In the short-term, this causes damage to your throat and a painful, burning sensation that we call heartburn. This happens to everyone occasionally. But for people with GERD, acid is regularly evaporating and traveling up into the throat and mouth where it can erode the enamel of your teeth.
How GERD Affects Your Teeth
Your stomach acid can be even worse for your teeth than the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth. Instead of being produced in small concentrations in a localized area where it can create a cavity, this cloud of acid can affect all your teeth evenly. This wears away your teeth from the outside and makes your enamel permanently softer, making it vulnerable to the action of chewing or being abraded by hard foods.
Your teeth will start wearing away from the edges. Your incisors–the front four teeth at the top and bottom–will shorten, which can make your smile look older, and make it harder to bite into hard foods. The ridges on your back teeth will wear flat, making it harder for you to chew effectively.
As your enamel wears away and the dentin underneath is exposed, your teeth will turn yellow or brownish, and they won’t respond to whitening. You may begin to experience sensitivity to pressure and temperature.
How We Restore Your Smile
If your teeth have been eroded by GERD, they can be restored to beautiful and functional perfection. Dental crowns can be used on the back teeth to protect them and restore their chewing surfaces.
In the front, porcelain veneers can be used to build your teeth back up to their original height and color. Depending on the extent of the damage, all-ceramic crowns may also be used on front teeth. This should not only make your smile more attractive, it will make it more functional and more comfortable, since your sensitivity will diminish.
If your teeth have been damaged by GERD or other causes of erosion, we can help. Please call