Dear Dr Hall,
I suffer from heartburn and quite often it makes me throw up, and the acid in my vomit makes my fillings in my back teeth very sensitive to the point i cant chew even the softest of food. Could you explain to me why this is?
Derek from Nova Scotia
This is a serious problem and could ruin your teeth. I hope you can find a way to get your heartburn solved.
This is called acid reflux. The problem is that when you throw up, that is very acidic, and it dissolves away the enamel on your teeth. So I don’t think it’s your fillings that are sensitive – it’s your teeth. It’s similar to the damage we see from bulimia.
The best treatment is prevention. If you can get the acid reflux solved, then, possibly some fluoride treatments will strengthen your teeth to not be so sensitive and maybe so that they don’t decay.
Otherwise, you may need to have all your back teeth crowned. That will cover them to protect them from the acid. But that’s not a long-term solution, because there’s always a thin strip of the tooth that isn’t covered, and the acid can attack that and undermine the crowns.
Meanwhile, be SURE that everytime you throw up you IMMEDIATELY rinse out your mouth thoroughly with water. If you can catch this in the first few seconds, you can limit the damage from the acid.
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