Acid reflux is making my teeth sensitive

Man holding his face with tooth pain - for sedation dentistry info from Miranda Lacy, DDS of Plano, TX

I’ve had acid reflux for years. Although I have used proton pump inhibitors for more than ten years, my new gastro specialist asked me to stop. We are exploring alternatives. Meanwhile, I am following a strict low acidic diet which seems to help. But my teeth are in horrible condition from years of stomach acid and vomit eating away at them. It hurts to chew a banana. I cannot image the pain of getting my teeth cleaned or treated for the sensitivity and pain. Will I need crowns on my teeth? Jamie


Thank you for contacting our office. Dr. Lacy would need to examine your teeth, but we hope your acid reflux is controlled soon.

As you mentioned, vomit is acidic—so acidic that it dissolves too enamel. Your teeth become sensitive and prone to decay. Acid reflux, or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), has the same effect on teeth as bulimia.

What Is the Best Treatment for Acid Reflux Damaged Teeth?

Prevention—controlling reflux disease—is the best treatment to protect your teeth. After doctor has the disease under control, your dentist can discuss treatment options.

  • Fluoride – Fluoride may strengthen your teeth with fluoride treatments. Fluoride will decrease tooth sensitivity.
  • Dental crowns – Your dentist can use ceramic crowns to cover and protect your teeth. But the acid can potentially get beneath the crown, attack the tooth, and loosen the crowns eventually.
  • Self-care – Meanwhile, rinse your mouth immediately after every snack or meal to neutralize the acid. Although rinsing your mouth is not a long-term solution. It will reduce the potency of stomach acid and vomit and limit the damage to your teeth. Limit brushing your teeth to twice daily. Too much brushing can further weaken your teeth.

Regardless of the treatment your dentist recommends, local anesthetic will prevent you from feeling pain. And sedation will calm your anxiety.

Best wishes for a swift resolution to your medical and dental health.

Miranda Lacy, DDS of Plano, Texas, sponsors this post.

Dentist won’t whiten my teeth without treating a broken tooth first

I have intense pain in a tooth that broke three years ago. I did not see a dentist about it until I decided to get my teeth cleaned and whitened. Last week, I saw a dentist who says that there is no way I can get my teeth whitened without treating this tooth that is hurting my chin and jaw. The dentist asked me to return for an x-ray because I was in the office for a teeth whitening consultation. Is it necessary to take care of an old broken tooth before whitening my teeth? – Brandon from Denver, CO


A tooth infection is causing your pain, and it needs treatment right away. If the pain is traveling into your jaw and chin, the infection is spreading.

Tooth Pain in Your Jaw and Chin

If you have tooth pain in your jaw and chin, schedule an appointment for an x-ray as the dentist you saw recommended. And ask her to x-ray your other teeth. Your broken tooth probably had a large cavity. Before pain spreads to your jawbone, other teeth can get infected along the way. Stopping the infection now is a wise decision.

When Can You Get Your Teeth Whitened?

Nose-to-chin photo of a man's white teeth - from Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy

You can get teeth whitened after the infection is clear. If the dentist can save your broken tooth, she will recommend root canal treatment and a crown. But if most of the healthy tooth structure is gone, or if the tooth is too damaged, you will need an extraction.

If root canal treatment is an option, you can wear a temporary crown until completing the whitening process. After your teeth are as white as you want them, your dentist can make a crown to match.

Check the Dentist’s Cosmetic Dentistry Training

The improvement you want for your smile can benefit from a cosmetic dentist, so check for the dentist’s advanced cosmetic dentistry training. A cosmetic dentist can perfectly match a crown to your newly whitened teeth. The results will look natural.

Miranda Lacy, DDS of Plano, TX, sponsors this post.