3 Dental Treatments for Patients Who Have Recently Recovered From Bulimia Nervosa

Posted on: 25 November 2020

Bulimia nervosa can severely damage teeth over a period of months or years. Because bulimia nervosa sufferers routinely induce vomiting after eating, they expose their teeth to powerful stomach acids. These acids are so potent that they steadily break down the protective enamel coating of teeth, weakening them and leaving them susceptible to tooth decay.

Fortunately, dentists can restore teeth damaged by bulimia nervosa in various ways.

1. Composite fillings

When teeth have lost a thin layer of enamel from their surface, they appear translucent around the edges. They may also look more yellow than usual. This is because the dentin layer beneath the enamel is beginning to show through. Patients with this type of enamel loss might also experience moderate to severe sensitivity when they drink hot or cold drinks.

Fortunately, in this case, all the teeth can be saved with composite fillings, which is a relatively cheap treatment compared to porcelain veneers or dental crowns.

Composite fillings look just like natural teeth and can restore their colour, shape, size and durability. But patients will need to replace them every few years or so.

2. Porcelain veneers

Porcelain veneers slip over the front of the teeth in the front of the mouth. They can't provide enough support for back teeth, as back teeth are much bigger. If a patient's teeth are badly discoloured and eroded by stomach acid, porcelain veneers can bolster them, providing both durability and beauty.

And although porcelain veneers are much more expensive than composite fillings, they are much stronger and longer-lasting.

3. Dental crowns

Sometimes, the teeth of bulimia sufferers are so badly damaged that veneers or fillings aren't enough to restore them to their former state. In this case, rather than extract the badly damaged teeth, patients can opt for dental crowns instead. Instead of extracting the teeth, a dentist will remove enough tooth structure to make room for a dental crown to fit over the damaged teeth.

A dental crown takes over the role of a damaged tooth. But there needs to be enough tooth structure remaining to support the dental crown; otherwise, the tooth could fracture in future while a patient is eating or talking.

The key to the successful treatment of teeth damaged by bulimia nervosa is speed. The faster a patient acts to get their teeth treated, the less likely they will need to replace those teeth with dentures, bridges or dental implants later.