Smiles by Payet Dentistry – Beautiful Smiles. Lifetime Care

Family, Laser, and Cosmetic Dentistry by Charlotte dentist Dr. Payet.

A Complete Smile Makeover with Porcelain Crowns for Teeth Damaged by Bulimia

There are many reasons patients come to see me for cosmetic dentistry.  One of the most common reasons is because their teeth are badly worn down from grinding, often in combination with acid erosion that has eaten away at the enamel.  Treating these cases can be complex, because if we don’t properly diagnose and solve the problem that caused the worn, eroded teeth in the first place, then any cosmetic dentistry is sure to fail very fast.

When Jenni (not her real name, as she prefers to stay anonymous) first came to see me through a referral back in 2005 for a Smile Makeover consultation, she admitted that she had suffered from bulimia as a teen, about 20 years prior.  She had recovered from this debilitating disease and had been leading a healthy, normal life for many years, but her teeth had been so eroded that she was extremely self-conscious and embarrassed by her smile.

Since Jenni’s original issue had been addressed medically, we were safe moving forward with a greatly decreased risk of acid erosion causing problems again, although bulimics are at a much higher risk of GERD/acid reflux, so she is monitored regularly by her physician, and she uses a prescription strength fluoride rinse daily to help protect the teeth under the porcelain.

Due to complicating factors, Jenni’s case was just completed this year; however, I think you’ll see why Jenni is now happy with her smile again, although she doesn’t want everyone to know what she had done,  so she has asked me to not use her portrait.

Cosmetic dentist Dr. Charles Payet, of Charlotte NC, performed a Smile Makeover with Porcelain Crowns to Restore these Teeth Damaged by Acid Erosion/Bulimia

Cosmetic dentist Dr. Charles Payet, of Charlotte NC, performed a Smile Makeover with Porcelain Crowns to Restore these Teeth Damaged by Acid Erosion/Bulimia

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May 25, 2009 Posted by | Bulimia, Cavities, Cosmetic dentistry, GERD/Acid Reflux, Porcelain Crowns, Porcelain Veneers, Porcelain-and-metal crowns, Smile Makeover | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

13yo girl with back pain, headaches, jaw pain, acid erosion of teeth, ADD, gastric reflux, sleeps poorly….

So what’s the connection amongst all these things?  Is it possible there’s one condition/issue that is a primary driving force behind all of these that, if addressed, could make an amazing difference in a young girl’s life……for her entire life?  The answer is (of course, or I wouldn’t be asking such obvious leading questions, right?  LOL 🙂 )

YES!!!!

So what’s the driving force behind all these health-issues, and what can be done about it?

SLEEP APNEA!!!

Let’s list all those conditions out again and start connecting the dots:

  • Lower back pain (no history of any accidents or trauma — this one is a bit of a stretch, but since there are no other contributing factors, and she’s been checked for scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and cleared, the fact that she’s been suffering from back pain is most likely due to the muscle spasm involved in the other issues, and perhaps she needs a new mattress for better lower back support.
  • Long history of headaches (decreasing somewhat recently, but still significant for a girl only 13 years old) – quite a bit of research now indicates that both chronic tension and migraine headaches are connected to sleep disorders, and it makes sense – if you can’t breathe well at night and your brain gets less oxygen than it really needs, your brain/nervous system will get hypersensitized; any little trigger will make it go haywire, make muscles spasm like crazy, and result in headaches.
  • Jaw pain/TMJ pain – Same as with the headaches; when the nervous system goes haywire, the muscles spasm like crazy, and your jaws will hurt; the joints get way too much pressure and pain can result, also the tissue in the joint gets scarred.
  • Acid erosion of teeth, signs of wear/bruxism on teeth – Connected to both the last 2 items (jaw pain/TMJ pain and headaches) AND to the next one (gastric reflux/GERD), if the muscles are spasming like crazy and making your teeth grind, they will show signs of wearing down.  When acid from the stomach gets sucked up the esophagus during that snoring (it’s a vacuum, really) and put in the mouth, especially at night, it sits there for hours and eats away at the enamel just like soda does.
  • Gastric reflux (very odd in a 13yo girl) – With sleep apnea, the throat gets closed off and you literaly stop breathing for short periods.  When your throat suddenly opens again, it’s like a vacuum suddenly releasing and acid gets sucked up your throat from your stomach.  VERY dangerous, and lots of research shows it can drastically increase your risk of Barrett’s Esophagitis, which can lead to throat cancer and is VERY VERY VERY NASTY!!!!
  • ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) – Again……decrease the oxygen level to the brain every night…..do you think your brain will function at normal levels?  Nope!  Common sense, really, and yes, the research is pointing in this direction.
  • Poor sleeping – Just like anyone who can’t breathe well at night, do you think you’ll sleep well?  Nope!  You can sleep for 10 hours, but if you have trouble breathing well for 6 of those hours, how do you think you’ll feel in the morning?
  • Asthma – The research on this is a little bit more in the initial stages from what I understand (could be further along and more definitive, though), but again it just makes sense.  After all, what is asthma but inflammation of the lungs, right?  Well, if you have some acid reflux at night, it’d be pretty easy to inhale just a little bit of that acid during the episodes of apnea, and imagine even a tiny bit of stomach acid getting into your lungs…..talk about irritated lungs!

So……..it really doesn’t seem like a stretch, does it?  You probably first thought…….no way!  But when looking at all of the different problems that this young lady faces at such a young age, there has to be something going on.  Given she has a pretty big tongue, big tonsils, and a very narrow throat, it was easy to determine she is at high risk for sleep apnea.

I can only hope that her mother listened and takes her for a thorough evaluation.  Besides keeping her teeth healthy, proper diagnosis, perhaps removal of her tonsils, an oral appliance, and some other possibilities for treatment, treatment could literally add years of healthy living!!!

May 5, 2009 Posted by | ADD/ADHD, Bruxism & Parafunction, Cavities, GERD/Acid Reflux, News You Can Use, Sleep Apnea, Snoring, TMJ and Headache Therapy | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment