How Your Family Dentist Might Help Save Your Teeth When You Have Bulimia
If you're struggling with bulimia, your family dentist may be the first to know since frequent vomiting affects your teeth and gums. The condition could cause you to lose your teeth or create the need for expensive dental treatments, so working with your dentist is important for your oral health.
At first, the treatments may be geared toward protecting your teeth from further damage while you work on your eating disorder. Restoring your teeth comes later, once you've stopped purging. Here are some ways your family dentist might help your teeth when you have bulimia and when you've recovered.
Provide More Frequent Cleanings And Checkups
You may need to see your dentist more often than twice a year for cleanings and checkups since bulimia puts you at a higher risk for tooth damage and gum disease. It's important to keep your appointments so your dentist can monitor your teeth and adjust treatments as needed to try to save them and control gum disease.
Recommend Toothpaste And Mouthwash
Your dentist might recommend toothpaste and mouthwash that help neutralize the acid on your teeth and to help with dry mouth that sometimes accompanies bulimia. Dry mouth can make your risk of cavities and gum disease even higher since you need saliva to rinse bacteria away.
You might also need oral care products that treat your sensitive teeth and that don't cause more pain when brushing. When the enamel begins to erode from your teeth, your teeth can become sensitive, and you don't want to stop brushing due to the pain. Some brands of toothpaste are more gentle than others.
Give Fluoride Treatments
Your family dentist might give fluoride treatments in the office and provide you with trays and prescription-strength fluoride to use at home. Fluoride might protect the enamel of your teeth to keep it from eroding due to frequent exposure to stomach acid.
Provide Gum Disease Treatment
Once you've stopped the frequent vomiting, your dentist can begin treatments on your teeth and gums. If you have gum disease, you might need scaling and planing to clean tartar from under your gum and to clear out the infection. Treating the gum disease early might keep it from escalating to the point where you lose teeth and your bone becomes infected.
Fill Cavities Or Crown Teeth
The type of dental care you need will depend on the type of damage the dentist needs to repair. If the damage is minor, the dentist may continue with fluoride treatments to see if your enamel will regenerate. If you have a large cavity, it will need to be filled. If the cavity is severe, or if you have a root infection, you might need a root canal and a crown.
In severe cases, you might need some teeth pulled and replaced with implants and crowns or a bridge. That's why it's important to see your dentist early. Early treatment might prevent the need for costly dental treatments to restore your oral health.