In April, my dentist removed a large silver filling from my tooth and put a temporary crown over it while a lab made the permanent one. The temporary crown fell off the third day after I received it. When I received the permanent crown, it fell off three times in five weeks.
The crown was also the wrong color – much whiter than my teeth, and it was noticeable. I complained to my dentist about the shade, and she said that for $385, he would change the crown. I disagreed with her charging me for a mismatched crown, so I just told her to forget about it.
The crown stayed on until mid-August. I visited my dentist and asked her how she is going to resolve the issue. She said that she would order a new crown. The dental practice scheduler said that the billing coordinator would return it as a defective crown, and the lab would replace it. I asked the scheduler not to make another appointment for me unless I would receive a free crown. They assured me that it was at no cost.
My appointment was in early September. My dentist drilled more and my teeth and said she was shaping it, inserting posts, and making new molds. As I left the office, the schedule told me that, after reviewing my insurance, I owed the office $385 from past visits. That was the same amount that the dentist said she would charge for a new crown. I should have disputed the amount or asked for an explanation of benefits, but I didn’t. Last week I felt the new crown getting loose, but it hasn’t come off yet. I can’t return to the dental practice as a patient because I don’t trust my dentist. What is the best way to handle this situation? – Margaux H. from GA
We’re sorry about your dentist’s behavior for a crown that she couldn’t get right. You paid for a crown that didn’t fit correctly and was the wrong color. Then paid again to get the color right, and now the crown is loose. That’s alarming!
A dentist who places a crown is responsible for matching the color to your natural teeth and ensure the crown is secure. Your dentist delivered poor service. Just as a new clothes washer needs to clean your clothes and dispense water based on the temperature selection without the appliance store charging you an extra fee, a dental crown needs to be secure and match the shade of your natural teeth. You paid for aesthetics and function, and that’s what you should receive upfront without additional expenses to get it right.
Dealing with a Dishonest Dentist
When your dentist is dishonest, you have several options.
- Don’t pay the extra fee – If your dentist wants you to pay extra for your crown to fit correctly and match your natural teeth, don’t pay the price. If you’ve already paid and with credit, contact your credit card company and ask if they will reverse the fee.
- Find another dentist – Look carefully for an advanced cosmetic dentist who has the training and skill to correct the issue and is willing to see you promptly before the crown dislodges. Ask your new dentist if they are willing to help you get a refund and correct the issues with your crown.
- Tell your current dentist that you’re filing complaints – Follow through with a complaint to your dental insurance company. They will want to know about billing for an unacceptable restoration. Also, complain to the Georgia Board of Dentistry because your dentist delivered sub-standard care.
- Publicize your experience – Warn other consumers by writing about your negative experience on Google, Yelp, Facebook, or another review platform.
Best wishes in a smooth resolution to getting a refund and getting your tooth restored properly.
David Finley, DDS, of Bayou Dental Group in Monroe, LA, sponsors this post.