Bulimia’s devastating effects on teeth

Bulimia can have very devastating effects on one’s teeth. The regurgitation of food carries with it a significant amount of stomach acids.

by Dr. Nicholas Meyer — 

An often hidden condition, bulimia can have very devastating effects on one’s teeth. The regurgitation of food carries with it a significant amount of stomach acids. Over time, these acids dissolve the surfaces of the teeth in such a slow manner that it is almost imperceptible. One day, however, a bulimic can awaken to find that her teeth are literally disappearing.

The consequences of this problem are several, and it is costly to restore the damaged dentition. As the teeth erode, the facial support provided by the teeth diminishes. This results in what can be called thinning lips. Also, a receding chin can result with consequent damage to the front teeth. On top of the erosion from the stomach acid, the teeth chip, flake and break away, which causes obvious cosmetic concerns.

When fillings are present in the teeth, little islands of restorative material remain standing high above the rest of the tooth. In this case, fixing the teeth properly often requires restoring the last bite posture and then resurfacing the teeth back to their original shape and form to hold and maintain the posture as it was originally intended.

This is a systems view of restoring damaged dentition that goes well beyond the repair of an individual tooth that episodically needs dental repair. Unfortunately, the effects of bulimia on the teeth are detrimental and often require the significant dental treatment described.

 

Nicholas Meyer, D.D.S., D.N.M., is a general dentist in Scottsdale, Ariz., who has a special interest in developmental disturbances of the facial complex that contribute to such maladies as TMJ, snoring and sleep apnea. www.milldental.com, DrMeyer@milldental.com or 480-948-0560.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 31, Number 4, August/September 2012.

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