Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Irvine

UC Irvine Previously Published Works bannerUC Irvine

Quantification of Dental Erosions in Patients With GERD Using Optical Coherence Tomography Before and After Double-Blind, Randomized Treatment With Esomeprazole or Placebo



Dental erosion, the chemical dissolution of enamel without bacterial involvement, is a rarely reported manifestation of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), as well as of recurrent vomiting and dietary habits. It leads to loss of tooth substance, hypersensitivity, functional impairment, and even tooth fracture. To date, dental erosions have been assessed using only very basic visual methods, and no evidence-based guidelines or studies exist regarding the prevention or treatment of GERD-related dental erosions.


In this randomized, double-blind study, we used optical coherence tomography (OCT) to quantify dental tissue demineralization and enamel loss before and after 3 weeks of acid-suppressive treatment with esomeprazole 20 mg b.i.d. or placebo in 30 patients presenting to the Berne University Dental Clinic with advanced dental erosions and abnormal acid exposure by 24-h esophageal pH manometry (defined as >4% of the 24-h period with pH<4). Enamel thickness, reflectivity, and absorbance as measures of demineralization were quantified by OCT before and after therapy at identical localizations on teeth with most severe visible erosions as well as several other predefined changes in teeth.


The mean+/-s.e.m. decrease of enamel thickness of all teeth before and after treatment at the site of maximum exposure was 7.2+/-0.16 black trianglem with esomeprazole and 15.25+/-0.17black trianglem with placebo (P=0.013), representing a loss of 0.3% and 0.8% of the total enamel thickness, respectively. The change in optical reflectivity to a depth of 25 black trianglem after treatment was-1.122 +/-0.769 dB with esomeprazole and +2.059+/-0.534 dB with placebo (P 0.012), with increased reflectivity signifying demineralization.


OCT non-invasively detected and quantified significantly diminished progression of dental tissue demineralization and enamel loss after only 3 weeks of treatment with esomeprazole 20 mg b.i.d. vs. placebo. This suggests that esomeprazole may be useful in counteracting progression of GERD-related dental erosions. Further validation of preventative treatment regimens using this sensitive detection method is required, including longer follow-up and correlation with quantitative reflux measures.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View