When visiting our Seattle dental practice at LeCuyer & Amato Dentistry we often see erosive effects of acid on teeth during oral examinations . After careful questioning and through the process of elimination, it’s concluded chronic exposure to refluxed acid has damaged the teeth. More often these patients report no other signs or symptoms of GERD. The teeth may or may not need any treatment, but more importantly, the reflux needs to be properly diagnosed and possible treatment rendered. This is clearly beyond our scope. Typically we refer these patients to their primary care physician to evaluate GERD. Often upon follow up, we are surprised to learn that little or no action occurred because the patient did not present with heart burn.
Due to the destructive effects of stomach acid on teeth, Drs. LeCuyer, Amato and Guerrero are uniquely positioned to identify and refer patients who suffer from GERD. Studies indicate that 32.5% of the patients who present with erosion have GERD (1). The National Institutes of Health estimates that 20% of Americans suffer from GERD (2). There are millions more who suffer from Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease or LPR and are unaware. In many cases, these patients are “silent refluxers” and are not even aware of their condition. Due to the breakdown of enamel, these patients will find their way to our dental office rather than a gastroenterologist with worn down, eroded teeth, not heartburn.
Silent GERD suffering is not uncommon, you might notice; wear and chipping on front teeth, sensitivity along root surfaces to hot, cold, tooth brushing, sugar. You may also notice food getting stuck in nooks and crannies of their biting surfaces that is caused by the erosion of their enamel from stomach acid. If you are concerned your teeth have suffered the effects of GERD schedule an exam at LeCuyer & Amato Dentistry to discuss options such as composite fillings, Bioclear, porcelain crowns and veneers.
Drs. LeCuyer, Amato and Guerrero partner with several gastroenterologists in the Seattle area and can refer you during your routine dental check-up and cleaning. Call to schedule today 206.626.5400.