For the past 3 years I’ve been going to a chain detail practice in Little Rock. They have several locations and I schedule appointments at the three offices that are close to home, work, or my mom’s house. My last visit to the site near my mom’s house was for a 6-month cleaning and exam. I’ve only visited that location once before. It was time for my x-rays, so I had those completed also. The doctor at this location told me that I need a new CEREC crown. When she identified which tooth needed the crown, I explained that I received a filling in that tooth five months ago from this same practice, but a different location. I would think that the offices are on the same computer network and can tell what work I’ve received and which office completed it.
The recommendation made me anxious, so I scheduled an appointment with an independent dental office and requested an exam and x-rays. The report from the new dentist was worse. She said that 3 of my fillings, as well as my 2 CEREC crowns, need to be replaced because they don’t fit well. Now I’m nervous. Can I trust the dentist who gave me a second opinion? If her advice is right, can I get a refund from the large dental practice? – Abbie from Little Rock, AR
You have conflicting reports from the dental practices, so we recommend that you get a third opinion. Look online for experienced dentists who have good patient reviews. Don’t mention the recommendations from the dental chain or the second-opinion dentist for new dental fillings and CEREC crowns. Let him or her examine your teeth and tell you what—if any—problems exist with your teeth.
File a Complaint Against the Dental Chain
A legal complaint requires that you get a second opinion and documentation from a dentist who has found fault with the work of another dentist on your teeth. Ask your second-opinion dentist to contact the dental chain to speak with the dentist who placed your fillings and crowns and provide the following information:
- You have received a second and third opinion from dentists who agree that your fillings and crowns need to be replaced.
- You want a refund
- If the dentist who did the work doesn’t cooperate, explain that you will take the following steps:
- Write a detailed, negative online review
- Contact the dental board for your state and file a complaint, which could result in a sanction against the dentist
- File a dental malpractice claim against the dentist. If you haven’t experienced any pain or suffering as a result of the faulty work, most attorneys won’t be willing to accept your case.
Common Problems with Dental Chains
According to Gallup research, dentists are among the top five most trusted professionals for honesty and ethics. Most people who become dentists want to help people personally. A comfortable lifestyle is a secondary reason.
Although there are caring, ethical, and highly skilled dentists who work for large dental chains, money often motives chain practices. There are several disadvantages to you as a patient:
- Dentists often lack long-term commitment to chain dental practicing
- Rotating dentists makes it challenging to trust your dentist and develop a long-term relationship
- Management often focuses on profit, and they pressure dentists to offer and schedule procedures but minimize the time they can spend on delivering quality results.
You’re likely to receive better care, service, and results from an independent dentist at a smaller practice. Look on practice websites for a dentist with advanced residency credentials, fellowship status, or advanced, post-graduate training. Also, look for online reviews. Your new dentist will explain your options for metal-free ceramic crowns.
This post is sponsored by David Finley, DDS, a Monroe, LA dentist.