ADAA View Course

Eating Disorders: Understanding the Basics and the Oral Implications (AGD 130)

Presenter: Natalie Kaweckyj , LDARF, CDA, CDPMA, COA, COMSA, CPFDA, CRFDA, MADAA, BA


In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder or OSFED, other significant feeding or eating disorder.1 The disorder does not discriminate and affects men, women, and adolescents from all ethnicities world wide. The group most commonly affected is adolescent girls, but diagnoses are increasing in males and other age groups, most notably women in their fifth decade of life. Dental personnel are usually the first to notice changes in the oral cavity of individuals with certain types of eating disorders. The earlier treatment is sought in the disease process, the more hopeful the prognosis. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Unfortunately, between five percent and 20 percent of the individuals with long-term eating disorders will die as a result of the illness. 


Natalie Kaweckyj began her dental assisting career over 25 years ago after graduating from the CODA accredited program ConCorde Career Institute. She spent twelve years working in a private practice where she worked clinically nine years and administratively the remaining three. She then moved onto teaching dental assisting and eventually became director of that program. Over lapping with teaching, Natalie began her tenure with Children’s Dental Services in 2007 in management and currently serves as clinical coordinator responsible for the day to day operations at over 600 locations where services are provided throughout Minnesota. Natalie enjoys the challenges of the public health sector and is gratified in serving those that are underserved, especially in a hospital setting under general anesthesia. With over a decade of restorative functions experience under her belt, she enjoys working with professionals new to dentistry as her love for teaching comes into play with the utilization of clinicians to the full scope of their licenses. The clinic keeps Natalie busy with billing management when not at the hospital. Natalie also graduated with a BA in Biology and Psychology from Metropolitan State University in 2005.

Ms. Kaweckyj served two terms as ADAA President (2017-2018; 2010-2011). She remains active on several councils, and serves as a President of the Professional Dental Assistants Educational Foundation (PDAEF). She served as a three-term president for MnDAA and remains as the state business secretary. Natalie has been recognized with several ADAA awards, was one of the first ADAA Fellows in 1999 and became the first ADAA Master in 2004. She has published numerous continuing education courses, over 200 articles and lectures on a variety of dental subjects locally, nationally and internationally. Organized dentistry gave Natalie the insight that you can make a difference as a dental professional, and she was instrumental in seeing licensure for dental assistants come to fruition in MN in 2009 as well as several expanded functions. Her dream would be to see mandatory credentialing become a reality in all states for protection of the public and maintaining integrity of the dental assisting profession.   


After completing this course, the dental professional should be able to:

• List the physical characteristics of anorexia nervosa.
• Recognize the clinical evidence of bulimia nervosa.
• Understand the etiology of the common eating disorders.
• Describe the differences and similarities between anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
• Identify the medical consequences of anorexia and bulimia nervosa.
• Outline the treatment protocols for anorexia nervosa.
• Understand the differences between the three forms of bulimia nervosa.
• Recognize the potential medical complications of the binge eating disorder. 
• Summarize the signs of compulsive overeating disorder. 
• Define Unofficial Eating Disorder.
• Identify warning signs of anorexia athletica and describe common medical complications.
• Recognize the potential nutritional consequences in baryophobia.
• Identify the signs and symptoms of othorexia nervosa.
• Describe the etiology of pica and understand potential medical complications of the disorder.
• Recognize the various food behaviors in children.
• Define nutritional consequences with food avoidance emotional disorder.
• Recite the potential dental concerns with selective eating disorder.
• Explain how other food related disorders are similar to the most commonly diagnosed eating disorders – anorexia and bulimia nervosa.
• Name behaviors associated with body dismorphic disorder.
• Give examples of the various phobias related to food and eating.
• List symptoms of the night eating disorder.
• Describe pervasive refusal syndrome.
• Understand Prader-Willi syndrome.
• Prepare advice that can be offered to prevent eating disorders.
• Compare and contrast different methods in the delivery of fluoride.
• Outline tips on caring for the oral cavity for patients suspected of having an eating disorder.


The ADAA has an obligation to disseminate knowledge in the field of dentistry. Sponsorship of a continuing education program by the ADAA does not necessarily imply endorsement of a particular philosophy, product or technique.

The ADAA cautions participants taking this course on the hazards of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into their practices.

Credits earned upon completion of the course may be used to meet DANB’s Recertification Requirements.


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