I had a dental crown placed. I immediately started having a sensitivity to hot and cold. My dentist said that was normal and I’d adjust to it. A couple of weeks later and my face swelled up and I was in massive pain. I ended up in the ER. They gave me some antibiotics and told me to see a dentist. I went the next day to a different dentist and they said I had a raging infection because my crown had large open margins. They showed me on the x-rays how bad the margin was. I needed a root canal and another dental crown. I called my original office to let them know what happened and ask for a refund on the half I’d already paid. They told me once they place the crown I’m responsible and they expect full payment. They told me if I didn’t pay they’d send me to collections. I was flabbergasted. I was like they didn’t even care that their work caused me pain, an ER visit, and two unnecessary procedures. Do I have any recourse?
I’m going to start with a disclaimer. I haven’t examined your tooth and am basing everything below solely on what you’ve said. You have a few choices here. At least one of them will work.
Let them know you are going to take the case to the dental board. What he did is malpractice. The most important thing to check when a new crown is being seated on a tooth is to run an explorer around the margins and make sure there is a good fit to the crown. It doesn’t sound like your dentist did this. At the very least, when you complained of sensitivity, he should have checked to see what was going on. Hearing the dental board mentioned should sober him, especially seeing as his neglect led to a dental emergency. If it doesn’t, you still have two more options.
Get another dentist to back you up. Sometimes, the opinion of their peers matters quite a bit. He may be willing to refund your money, simply to avoid looking bad in front of the other dentist.
Go through a lawyer. Often, all it takes is a letter from a lawyer with the threat of a malpractice suit for the dentist to come to his senses. I don’t think it is financially feasible to do a true suit, though of course, that is up to you. Lawyers are expensive so it may not be worth it. They don’t often charge much to write a letter though and make the dentist think twice.
This blog is brought to you by Fountain Valley Dentist Dr. Tammy Tran.