Adolescents who have regularly seen a pediatric dentist throughout their childhood years, are more likely to keep the habit of regular dental checkups. These checkups are important in maintaining good oral health, and in some cases, can be life saving. The indication that your teenager may be anorexic, or bulimic may first be suspected by her pediatric dentist.
Your dentist will certainly notice an increase in the number of cavities his adolescent patient is getting, especially if the patient’s history shows that she has been cavity free for some time. Some other red flags may include dry mouth, bleeding gums, or cracked lips, to name a few.
One of the abnormalities that go along with an eating disorder is purging – getting rid of the food that has been ingested – by vomiting, or using laxatives. The stomach acid that comes from excessive vomiting will damage the enamel on the back of the front teeth, and this will be noticeable by a pediatric dentist, while performing a routine checkup. If the same effects are caused from drinking colas, or sports drinks, they will show up on all the teeth, not just the front ones. Other manifestations could be seen as chips on the enamel of the teeth, and unusual tooth sensitivity. A dentist will be able to determine how advanced a disorder may be, by judging the extent of the damage to the teeth.
A pediatric dentist is trained to deal specifically with dental conditions particular to children, and adolescents. The additional years of his education also included learning how to deal with the emotions that may affect the behavior of his patients. If his experience can alert him to what may be the side effects of an eating disorder, he can make parents aware of a possible problem before it gets out of control, so that the entire family can begin to deal with it.
Dr. Lucinda Lewis, of Dentist 4 Kidz, in Aurora, connects with her patients, and their parents, on facebook. Follow her there, and get answers to your specific questions concerning pediatric dental issues.