National Eating Disorders Association

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Help paying for dental complications

Hello all,

My girlfriend is currently working towards recovery, and I couldn't be more proud of her. Although still a significant struggle, she has been seeing a dietician/therapist, stopped compulsively running, is increasing her meal plan and taking on fear foods, and is addressing a lot of emotional trauma associated with her disorder. Part of that emotional scarring comes from guilt associated with damage done to her body. Aside from loss in bone density, she has dental complications from purging (which she hasn't done in over a year now).

The dental issues in particular are a continuous source of guilt because of chronic pain. She is getting work done this month to address all of the issues, and It will en able to put that part of her past behind her. The cost of everything though will be over $10,000. My girlfriend is a pre-school teacher and doesn't make nearly enough to cover this, and dental insurance doesn't cover it.

Recovery is a hard road, and I've seen someone I love very much struggle with the highs and lows of it. But, it is possible and she is doing it! For anyone with someone suffering, just try to hold fast and be as supportive as possible, and recovery is possible.


Hi Zac,

Thank you for posting here and for sharing some of you and your girlfriend's experiences. You sound like such a supportive partner, and it's great to hear about your girlfriend's successes in recovery. You're right, recovery is a hard road with lots of ups and downs, but it is possible!

I think oral/dental health issues related to eating disorders sometimes get overlooked, but they can be a significant health challenge ( I'm sorry to hear that dental insurance won't fully cover the treatment your girlfriend needs. NEDA has some information online about insurance resources, since health insurance coverage for EDs in general is often very complicated. You might find some useful information here: . The Parent Toolkit (it's not just for parents!) also has a section on insurance ( ).

I have heard of organizations and groups offering treatment scholarships for ED treatment before, so perhaps there is funding for dental issues associated with EDs. To find out more about those options, I'd recommend the NEDA Helpline. You can call or chat online with them. (More info. here: ). Additionally, have you or your girlfriend spoken with the dentist or oral surgeon she plans to see about these issues? They might know of financial resources for cases like this.

I hope this helps you find a starting point. That price tag must be a major setback, so I'm sorry to hear about this latest set of challenges for you and your girlfriend. I hope she continues to move towards recovery and good health, and that you continue to have the strength to be so supportive. Please keep us updated on the situation and let us know if you have other questions or if you just need a listening ear. :) Good luck!