A confident, beautiful smile affects not only others perceptions of you, but also how you feel about yourself. Studies have shown that smiling makes you appear more successful, relieves stress, and propels optimism. There is a definite relationship between bulimia and teeth and oral health. Bulimia, a physical and psychological disease where an individual continually binges and purges food, can cause a smile to deteriorate over a matter of months. For those who have turned the corner on bulimia, damaged teeth are often an unwanted reminder of their past. There is no need to feel self-conscious and discouraged every time they show their teeth or they look in the mirror.
Restorative dentistry can be a major step in recovery from bulimia. It helps remove several visible effects of the disease and restores not only a beautiful smile, but self-confidence as well. At our award-winning practice in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area, we care deeply about helping those struggling with this difficult disease to find self-assurance as we assist them back to good oral health and a stunning smile.
Bulimia Effects on Teeth and Oral Health
Bulimia results in tooth erosion and a myriad of consequent dental problems. Basically, the repeated stomach acid exposure from vomiting strips away tooth enamel, meant to protect teeth from decay. Without this preservative layer, teeth are laid bare to erosion. After several months of continuous binging and purging, many of these signs can start to appear:
Safe Place To Be
If you or someone you know has any of these signs of dental decay from bulimia, we have a wonderful and empathetic staff that is highly trained in this area to help. We care about helping you erase the oral effects of this disease as we work together to restore your confident smile.
Is It Possible To Restore Teeth After Bulimia?
Absolutely. There is no need to feel trapped with a smile damaged from continual acid exposure. Here are a few things we can do to help recover a patient's smile:
Dental Implants: For a missing tooth, a dental implant provides a root-like anchor in the jaw to support a dental crown or bridge.
Dental Crowns: We most commonly use dental crowns to provide structure, appearance, and long-lasting protection to damaged teeth. A dental crown is an artificial cap custom-designed to fit over a damaged tooth and blend in with the natural teeth.
Dental Bridges: For multiple missing teeth, a dental bridge containing artificial teeth can discretely fill in the gap. This bridge connects to the adjacent teeth and blends in to the normal teeth.
Dental Veneers: If enough tooth structure remains, dental veneers, or thin tooth-like shells, can be bonded over your damaged teeth. This shields the front of the tooth and covers up discolored or decaying teeth.
The treatment plan differs depending on whether or not the patient is still struggling with bulimia. We can best help restore a patient's smile if they are honest about their current situation.
What if I am Still an Active Bulimic?
Even if a patient has started on the road towards recovery, we understand that change is a process. If the patient is still recovering, we encourage them to come in for a consultation. While some of the more permanent restorations may need to wait until bulimia has subsided, there is still much we can do to start on a restorative pathway. Together we will sit down and create a customized plan for revitalizing their smile and dental health. For those still struggling to control their bulimia, here are a few tips to help preserve your teeth:
Water Rinse After purging, rinse your mouth out with water as soon as possible to reduce acid exposure to teeth.
Wait to Brush Brushing your teeth after purging only further erodes the tooth enamel. It is best to brush after a few hours, using highly concentrated fluoride toothpaste. You can also brush with fluoride before vomiting.
Fluoride Both professional and home fluoride treatments are an important part of preserving teeth constantly exposed to stomach acid. Fluoride decreases tooth sensitivity, reduces further tooth erosion, and strengthens teeth by replenishing important minerals.
Plastic Splints We can work with you to find ways to protect your teeth from acid exposure as you continue to work towards recovery. Solutions such as plastic splints filled with alkalizing material (magnesium hydroxide) can help shield your teeth.
Resist Acidic Foods Drinking and eating highly acidic materials such as soda pop only aggravates the erosion of teeth.
Take Control of Your Smile
Bulimics often feel a loss of control as they struggle with binging and purging. Taking charge of their dental care and reconstruction of a beautiful smile can be an important step towards feeling whole again. If you or someone you know has struggled with the dental effects of bulimia, don't hesitate to call us in our Plymouth, Minnesota office at 763-546-7707 to see how we can rebuild your smile.
Remember: The most important thing is to confront what has happened/is happening in your mouth and find a committed, caring group of people to work with.