Acid Reflux and Teeth

I have pretty severe acid reflux. My dentist is telling me that it is destroying my back teeth and I need to get them crowned. I am not good with the dentist under the best of circumstances. Is this really necessary?


Dear Kirk,

person cowering behind a chair

Your dentist is not kidding you when he says that acid reflux can destroy your teeth. It sounds like yours has started to do that already. You may not know this, but it acid reflux also puts you at a higher risk for esophageal cancer. It should be a high priority for your medical doctor to find a solution to get this under control for you.

In the meantime, you’ll need to deal with the damage to your teeth. If the enamel has been eaten away by the acids from your reflux, then the back teeth need to be crowned for their own protection. That’s the bottom line. Without that protection, you’ll end up with tooth sensitivity as well as significant tooth decay. You could end up losing the teeth as a result.

Having dental crowns placed, won’t completely protect your teeth from the reflux, there is still a tiny strip in which the acids could get through. What it will do is protect the already damaged enamel from decay as well as minimize the exposure to further acids. You will still need to meet with your doctor to get the reflux under control.

A Solution for Dental Anxiety

As for not being comfortable in the dental chair, you are certainly not alone in that problem. Often it stems from a negative experience at the dentist either when you were a child or as an adult with a nasty procedure combined with an insensitive dentist. Fortunately, there is a way to get the necessary treatment you need without feeling like you are in a torture chamber.

Ask your dentist if he offers dental sedation options. In some cases, just having some nitrous oxide will relax you enough to make your dental appointment smooth and pain-free. However, some with more severe anxiety need a dentist who offers something stronger, such as oral conscious sedation. Though this is administered with a pill, it is so strong that you will need someone to drive you to and from your dental appointment as well as stay with you at home until you are lucid and steady on your feet again. Most patients using OCS end up sleeping through their entire appointment.

If your dentist doesn’t offer this service, you may want to have your dental crowns done elsewhere.

This blog is brought to you by Baton Rouge Dentist Dr. Steven Collins.