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Sensitive teeth, gum area receding is this PMR related?

Have any of you good folk with on-going PMR issues experienced sensitivity with your teeth?

I had a root canal carried out 9 years ago on one of my front two teeth, and the other which still has its nerve gives me occasional pain since diagnosed with PMR which I am hoping is not a sign that further down the track I may need another root canal.

This tooth has a matching veneer to compliment the other tooth that had the root canal treatment.

Added to this, I have noted the gums surrounding these two teeth have receded exposing part of the bed in which the crown is positioned.

This is black and once sat positioned snuggly into the gum region.

I have paid a lot of money in the past with the looking after my teeth and wonder what I can do to halt any further recession of gums.

I visit my dentist/hygienist every 3 months without fail and due to see her late April.

It doesn't sound too serious alongside our other added issues with PMR, but a good self esteem is worth fighting for when you are feeling the pits.

Do you think this is PMR related or steroid related?

Thank you in advance.

24 Replies

Lots of people complain of sensitive teeth and pred seems to be the link. I'd had sensitive teeth before and used Sensodyne toothpaste anyway but changed to the Pronamel version which I found helped. I had to give up fridge-temperature drinks and be careful with icecream. I'm now on a lower dose and no such problems now. And thinking back, I had a period when biting onto something hard with a couple of teeth was excruciating - nothing to be seen and it went away.

Although a study decided that taking pred DIDN'T cause periodontal disease a lot of people complain of various things. Maybe PMR can cause problems and then taking pred reduces the inflammation and your gums apparently recede - though if you have had ongoing good quality care they should have picked that up.


Thank you PMRpro for your response.

When I am having my usual hot flush (probably inflammation via PMR and mostly at night I am inclined to pour myself a long drink of filtered water with a few ice cubes and a dash of Aloe Vera to take plainness of the water Aloe highly recommended by my Rheumy.

This is the only time I take anything cold but suck it through a straw away from the one or two teeth that are touchy.

I only noticed early this week the extent of gum recession and it now covers both my front teeth - am off to my dentist after Easter to see if he can offer any solution in the meantime.

I use Red Seal Natural Mineral Herbal based toothpaste for some years - no parabens which is far better for our health.

I do know of Sensodyne and will take another look at the ingredients when next at Supermarket.

I notice at night I get a very dry mouth and am inclined to sip on my water/aloe as I am a bit thirsty and need to hydrate mouth.

I will need to find a suitable way to keep my mouth closed whilst asleep!!

The Hydrocortisone acts as a diuretic, so with a dry mouth I will need to be careful I do not create further periodontal issues as I have had in the past.

Happy Easter to you and yours :)


For me, not just sensitive teeth but crumbling ones as well, so several new crowns arrived during my steroid days. Like PMRpro, I have found Sensodyne Pronamel to be the best. Whether it is PMR or steroid-related is difficult to say, but my very first GCA symptom was mouth-related, so I'm inclined to suggest inflammation may be the cause.


I had really sensitive teeth when I started taking pred, while before I loved ice cubes in drinks etc. I then started using Sensodyne. Having cut down the pred I have stopped the Sensodyne and I seem to be able to have really cold things again which is good news.

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Hi Piglette - that almost suggests that the pred was creating the sensitive teeth in the first instance doesn't it?

Good to know you are able to revert to your liking of cold things and thank you for your input.

Have Easter to you and yours as well.


I reckon it was the pred, the pharmacist thought it was too. Thank goodness it is now better.

Happy Easter.


I previously discussed with a hospital dentist. I too, have this dreadful issue. With Vasculitis (such as GCA), soft tissues are getting eroded by tumour necrosis factor, other ILs, macrophage, cytokines, chemokines.. Your gum is under attack just like your joints and muscles....I wonder if the circulation into one's gum tissues is under optimum due to this condition? it feels like soft tissue covering of my skull is being eaten away by this disease as well..


Hi Ferntree

You pose an interesting thought to ponder here and on a variety of fronts.

Firstly, I discovered a small dent in my skull several week ago, to the R of the fontanel region. Back to this shortly.

Secondly, in 2007 it was noted that I had 3 nodes tucked away within my L parotid gland. An ultra sound scan quantified & qualified shape size etc.

At the time it was only one of these nodes became apparent as it was tender to touch just beneath the ear.

Just as importantly to mentioned, I had a R parotidectomy (salivary gland) in 2003 due to a tumour of benign origin.

I sought the advice of my original Neck/Throat Surgeon last week with the updated ultra s. scan and whilst they haven't appeared to have grown any bigger from 2007 (5mm, 5mm and 3mm) they seemed to have moved (dropped) and are intermittingly tender especially at day's end and opening of jaw wide to eat. I notice their presence now, but not in the past.

My Neck/Throat surgeon suggested it is rare for anyone to have their remaining "other" parotid in trouble, so dismissed it as nothing to worry about. No even an offer of a fine needle aspirate.

I also mentioned the dent in my scalp - he popped on his powerful eyeglass and took a look and said " yes you have and you are aloud to". I was feeling poorly that day and didn't argue, thinking he knows what he is talking about surely?

I was not quick enough to say to my Neck/Throat Surgeon that my dentist contributed to my L jaw sub-luxing (similar to dislocating) last year and the dentist made the comment that in his dental work history spanning 40 years it had only ever happened one other time. So it was very unusual.

This topic will be aired next week with my Rheumy as he has indicated that we must keep a close watch on the nodes and I would like an answer as to why my skull has developed a dent.

Of course loosing my R parotid has no doubt contributed to my slightly dry mouth although not an issue previously that I recall.

But having the dry mouth now since PMR and Hydrocortisone is certainly contributing to more periodontal work for sure.

Hopefully will have some answers next week.

Happy Easter in the meantime and sorry this is long winded:)



"I would like an answer as to why my skull has developed a dent."

Hi Megams

No long-winded at all, Megams. Please not to worry :) It's often helpful to know all the details as we seem to encounter similar symptoms. I wonder..time to ask for some imaging (CT or MRI)? It must be very worrying for you. Thank you for sharing and please, keep us posted. Happy Easter to you, also :) Sounds like you deserve it!! xx


Its possible to overdo the brushing as we get older and this can cause the gums to recede. I've never cleaned brushed my teeth as often as recommended and the dentist has said "whatever you are doing, keep doing it".


Once a day before bed does me too and I have very few dental problems. There is a theory that the less you see a dentist, providing you clean your teeth properly and don't chomp sweets/sip juice all day your teeth will do very well thank you very much.

One of the worst things to do is clean your teeth soon after drinking or eating, particularly anything acid - the enamel is in a delicate state and brushing can cause damage. Always wait an hour if you feel a need to brush.

Children's teeth these days are in a parlous state due to being given fruit juice to drink - milk or water is far better. A woman in Germany kept a glass of fresh orange juice beside her at work and drank small amounts during the day, always holding it in her mouth briefly before swallowing so it wasn't cold on her stomach. The dentists hadn't been able to understand why her tooth enamel was literally washed away.

Celtic - I have wondered whether your problem of crumbling teeth was actually due to your lemon juice in water in the morning. Did you brush before or after or both?


I don't think so, PMRpro, as I'd been having the lemon juice for years without any problem, and no problem during the last few years off steroids either (hope I don't regret saying that!) The juice is very weak and followed by breakfast including a pot of 'live' yoghurt, which I assume would be protective, and then brushing about an hour or so afterwards.


Hi PMRpro

I always like to get rid of that furry tongue feeling after breakfast - don't brush straightaway but interesting thoughts on your suggestion.

Since my jaw sub-luxed? (not sure on the spelling) but form of dislocation, decided I would only see Hygienist who is a fabulous English gal living here in NZ and I have never met such a dedicated professional lady who explains and does every little thing to help preserve my teeth. Who needs a dentist and haven't seen one since the jaw event which was dreadful - mouth jammed open unable to speak and no way of communicating.

I must say I have all the mercury fillings removed 8 years ago when I was having immune issues.

Teeth now heavily filled with mostly veneers and solid creamy/white composite fillings.

Couldn't agree more re children's teeth and sugary laden juice - never been a fan nor touch the stuff, or sweets for that matter - poison to my immune system.

I do enjoy a touch of lemon juice on my fish most nights, but only a touch as tum not a fan of it at all.

Thanks again PMRpro.


Hi Paddyfields

Thank you for your tip - I am very aware of this and use a electric toothbrush, see my Hygienist every 3 months as I can sometimes get 2 areas of pockets of plaque.

I am very fussy with my teeth and take good care of them - I floss and use the wee bushes in between teeth.

Couldn't agree more that vigorous brushing can contribute to overworking the gum line thus causing some recession.

Happy Easter to you:)


Hi my dentist gave me special toothpaste when I told him I was on steroids it has a high content of fluoride and you don't rince when you brush your teeth hope this helps


What kind of tooth paste is it? Do they have it in the states?


Hi Daisyharper

Thank you for your kind reply.

I am not a big fan of fluoride, not even in our drinking water .

I will be seeking advice from a Dentist this coming week so will see what he says.

Thank you once more and have a happy Easter:)

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Hi I am home from work so got the tube here, it is called Duraphat 5000 made by Colgate, which is an American company I think, maybe you ask at your Chemist as I don't think it is available to buy over the counter here. Old luck


Sure thing, I will ask the Dentist this week what he knows about Duraphat 5000 by Colgate.

Thank you again for your kind and thoughtful reply which I do appreciate.


No problem, I have had some good advice from this forum so happy to help


Hi Megan's, I suffer from numbness in my teeth a bit similar to coming home from the dentist but not so severe.

I have aired this before but so far have not found anyone else with this problem but would be glad to hear from them just to know if it is steroid related.

Regarding your problems I swear by using a good electric toothbrush (expect to. Pay about £100 for one but compared to dental charges it,s cheap believe me.


Thank you Classicmichael for your info and sorry I didn't see your post until now - somehow I have missed this, anyway have posted a follow up to my question of last week.

Many thanks once more.


I have just recently started having painful gums in addition to jaw pain. Brushing and using water pick are uncomfortable. I am down to 35 mg prednisone but symptoms of stiff legs, all over back pain, constant headache and blurred vision just get worse. I also have added a late day severe stabbing pain in lower left abdomen. Any suggestion from this incredible group will be appreciated! I have had a stressful few months with family illnesses and other problems, mainly making the decision to say goodby to my 16 year old Cockapoo which I just keep postponing. Most of you have been in that situation and totally understand the pain.This blog is first thing I read. Thanks to all.


Just a follow up on my front teeth sensitivity where gum line has receded thus now exposing dentine and crown base: - Dentist ascertained yesterday that due to a number of issues i.e. hydrocourt meds contributing to my dry mouth (I have only one parotid gland so salvia delivery less), plus my dietary issues from when I wasn't able to eat very much when inflammation at its worst, especially in gut.

Been advised that my electric toothbrush be directed away from this area and using a soft hand held tooth brush using gentle movements downwards to encourage gums down. Fingers crossed.

Blessings to you all.


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