Although we can repair bulimia tooth damage, it’s best not to start repairing teeth until treatment is underway and seems likely to succeed. To get successful treatment for bulimia, adult patients are encouraged to seek out cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which has the best research record for success in treating patients with bulimia.

What Is CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychological approach that looks at the way thoughts, actions, and feelings are interrelated, then gives patients tools they can use to break the cycle of negative thoughts leading to negative actions leading to negative consequences.

CBT came about as a combination of cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. In cognitive therapy, people are taught to recognize automatic thoughts that are negative or hurtful in nature. Psychiatrist Dr. Aaron Beck realized that many of his patients had their mood constantly driven down by these negative automatic thoughts.

Behavioral therapy, on the other hand, focuses on the ways that behaviors help to encourage a low mood or lead to negative consequences. The emphasis is on gaining control of these behaviors to improve the quality of life for the patients.

CBT shows that these are not two independent trends, but are closely interrelated. By identifying and stopping negative thoughts and behaviors, CBT helps patients get control of mental disorders such as bulimia.


There is a special form of cognitive behavioral therapy that is designed to treat bulimia nervosa. Dubbed CBT-BN, this treatment approach attempts to disrupt the cycle of harsh weight judgment, binging, and purging that characterizes the condition.

CBT-BN helps patients recognize that they actually have a healthy body weight, and recognize that their automatic thoughts criticizing their body weight or shape are unrealistic and damaging. Patients then learn to counter these negative thoughts with more positive ones to improve their body image. CBT-BN also helps patients recognize the triggers that lead to binge eating and purging. This helps them maintain a healthy relationship to food.

People with bulimia need to seek treatment to preserve their health, their quality of life, and their teeth. To learn more about the treatment of bulimia-related tooth damage, please call (949) 551-5902 for an appointment with an Orange County cosmetic dentist at Rice Dentistry in Irvine.