A “Fad” Turned Addiction
Q: In the last year, I’ve come to grips with a problem that originated in my mid-teens, twenty years ago. It started out as a fad as much as anything then developed into a full-blown condition. Through it all I’ve had great family support. I’ve had professional support and now after a long struggle I think I can control and extricate myself from Bulimia.
The reason I’m seeking dental care is that my front teeth are ground down by two thirds. I don’t show my teeth when I speak and only when I laugh can you see the shortened stumps of teeth sticking out of the gums. All my teeth are ground flat and I catch myself grinding when I’m under stress or agitated. I don’t know what can be done but I don’t want dentures. I saw a dentist who took molds of my teeth and he said I could get crowns to give me back my front teeth.
The lower front teeth aren’t as bad as the uppers so I’m not sure why they would need to be done (crowns put on). He did say that when my teeth hit it’s the back ones that hit first and when I bite my front teeth don’t touch. When I get excited I know I grind from back to front and all over. How is that going to affect the new crowns if I get them. I’ve got to do something, my smile is hideous. I cover my face in public all the time. Please help.
A: Bulimia is more common than is known. I see one or two extreme cases every year. That you’re seeking help and have a good support system is a major step forward. When this disease/addiction takes hold (more common in young women) parents are usually not aware.
When it becomes the disease it’s very difficult to stop the behavior. If you are ready to have your teeth corrected and restored you will need that support system to be by your side to prevent relapse.
If your front teeth are ground flat on the edges and your front teeth are apart when your back teeth hit; your solution will be proper placement of crowns on your upper six front teeth and your lower six front teeth. Restoring the length and proper angulation of your front twelve teeth is necessary to establish a correct bite. This will create a “height gap” between your back teeth because they have been worn too. Once the front dimension is established small dental shims can be bonded to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. This will allow excellent chewing function and bite contact while limiting harmful wear.