Nervous about my dentist referring me to a prosthodontist to fix my teeth from bulimia

I have mixed feelings about being referred to another dentist for my teeth. I have a lot of trust in my dentist but this time she doesn’t trust herself, at least not with my teeth. I have been struggling with bulimia for 7 years or so. I finally found the right counselor to help me but it’s a little late for my teeth. My dentist said that she prefers that I see a specialist so she is referring me to a prosthodontist. My discomfort is in having to explain myself and my story all over again. Is this really necessary, or should I try to find a way to get my dentist to do the work herself? Thank. C.T.

Dear C.T. – We sympathize with your concern over having to discuss your health concerns with a new dental provider. That is a difficult step to take.

You mentioned that you trust your dentist. At this point, you may consider trusting her judgment that she is not the best dentist to give you the best results for restoring your smile. A prosthodontist specializes in restoring and replacing teeth, and many have received additional training to produce beautiful results. Many prosthodontists have experience with patients whose teeth are damaged due to eating disorders. Sometimes a case can be more difficult than a general dentist is comfortable handling. Your dentist likely took that into consideration when referring you to this particular prosthodontist—he or she has likely treated many cases similar to yours. This factor also helps the specialist to be sensitive to your concerns.

To increase your comfort level with the prosthodontist, in advance of dental treatment, schedule a consultation with him or her. Get to know the specialist, ask questions about the kind of cases he or she has handled, and try to be frank about your concerns. Taking time to get to know the dentist before treatment begins may help to increase your confidence in the specialist. If you find that you are not comfortable with the specialist, speak with your dentist about it, and if necessary, ask for another referral.

This post is sponsored by Naperville board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.