As dedicated, board-certified pediatric dentists, our comprehensive exams are very thorough. One of the conditions that we sometimes see in patients – even young patients – is GERD (Gastro-Intestinal Reflux Disease) or simply reflux.
Reflux is a condition whereby the content of the stomach are sometimes pushed back up the esophagus and into the oral cavity. There are many causes of reflux, one of which being a problem with the sphincter – the “lid” that covers the stomach and protects the esophagus and mouth from the stomach’s acidic fluids.
Reflux is often diagnosed because a child will complain of burning in their throat, especially after eating. Sometimes, it’s not always easy to identify reflux as the cause for the child’s discomfort.
One of the things that we look for as part of our routine oral evaluations is signs of GERD. When a patient has reflux, there is a specific pattern of erosion that we see on the teeth. And while we see this pattern in patients who we know have a history of reflux, we often see this pattern in patients who have undiagnosed reflux. As such, we are able to help identify children with GERD or who are at risk for worsening GERD because the discomfort might not be regular enough or intense enough for a child to mention it.