Millions of American women struggle with bulimia nervosa, one of the most damaging eating disorders. Many of these women experience extensive damage to their teeth as a result of their purging behavior. Like bulimia itself, this tooth damage can be discouraging, and it can seem an insurmountable obstacle.
Needing Dentures at Age 30
Kaitlin D (the name she shares her story under) says that as a child she had always had great teeth. When she was a child and as a teenager, she took good care of them and was regularly complimented on the beauty of her smile.
But then bulimia started to cause damage to her teeth, as well as symptoms like gum pain, dry mouth, and jaw alignment issues. She went to the dentist to try to get these resolved, but as her teeth deteriorated, she became more self conscious about their appearance. This, unfortunately, led her to stop going to the dentist.
Unfortunately, that only made the problem worse, and when she finally did get the courage to go back to her dentist, she was told that she might need dentures, at only age 30.
She didn’t like the suggestion, so she stopped going to that dentist and tried to get by with only temporary treatments on a few teeth, like dental crowns to try to protect her failing teeth. But this didn’t work–it didn’t even slow the damage.
Eventually, she had to admit that she needed to fully repair her damaged smile with the help of a dentist and an oral surgeon. And now she’s happy to be able to enjoy smiling again.
Learning from Kaitlin’s Story
Kaitlin shares some important information about bulimia’s ability to damage your teeth, and how that can impact your overall health. But what’s most important is to learn from what she did and not repeat her mistakes.
Kaitlin’s first mistake is when she stopped going to the dentist. We understand that when your teeth are bad and deteriorating you can be very self-conscious about them. But this is when you need your dentist most. The earlier your dentist can intervene, the better. It’s best not to do a complete smile repair until you have your bulimia under control, but your dentist can mitigate the damage.
Second, if your dentist recommends a treatment plan, don’t run away and shop around for a dentist who offers to do less work. It’s important to get a second opinion, but that’s different from searching for a dentist who is prepared to do work that won’t actually meet your needs.
Finally, it’s important to understand that “dentures” aren’t anything to be afraid of these days. In the past, dentures were unattractive and functioned poorly. Modern dentures, especially implant-secured All-on-4 restorations, can be attractive, natural, and functional. Even for someone in their 30s, these dentures can be virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth.
Don’t Give up on Your Smile
If you have experienced bulimia damage to your teeth, it can be easy to feel discouraged. But don’t give up! Modern reconstructive dentistry can overcome most any challenge to give you a second chance at a beautiful, healthy smile.