In 2006 I received four dental implants and overdentures. I have been so happy with the results. After 15 years, my dentures looked worn, so I scheduled consultations with three cosmetic dentists for a new overdenture. My family dentist does good work, but I am not confident about his cosmetic skills. Among the dentists that I consulted with, I chose one recommended by a coworker. The dentist told me that I would receive my new denture in three to four weeks.
The overdenture was ready in 4.5 weeks. Three weeks ago, I went to the office for my dentist to fit the denture. He struggled to get the denture on the implants so finally, he applied a lot of force that I thought would crack my jaw. The overdenture felt so stiff that I had difficulty eating chicken noodle soup that evening. At bedtime, it took almost 45 minutes to remove the overdentures. My suspicion was right – I could not get it back on the next morning. The receptionist told me that my dentist was at another practice two hours away, so I saw a different dentist who agreed that the attachment holes were drilled incorrectly, and one side of the denture is lower than the other. The dentist said that he would order new gaskets for the attachments, which should resolve the issue. But the problem is still not resolved. My denture was uncomfortable and very difficult to take off and put on. Now my dentist says that he may need to redo the denture.
I am nervous about the resolution because I share caregiving responsibilities for my mom, who lives out of state. I will leave in two weeks, and I will be away for at least two months. I do not want to drag this issue through spring and summer. I did not get what I asked for, so my thoughts are to ask for a refund. Will my asking for a refund complicate matters? I feel like I need to start all over.
Thank you! Mercedes from GA
Thank you for submitting your question to us. Your situation has legal and dental concerns.
Is your dentist liable?
Your dentist agreed to complete your overdenture in three to four weeks. Even in 4.5 weeks, he did not deliver an overdenture that functions correctly, so he broke the time and quality agreement. You are entitled to a refund. But that does not mean your dentist will be willing to refund you.
How to encourage your dentist to issue a refund
Speak respectfully with your dentist when asking for a refund. Follow the steps below, only doing what is necessary until you get results. Hopefully, your dentist will cooperate before the final step.
- Explain the agreement you had and how your dentist broke it.
- Tell your dentist that you are dissatisfied with the work and will write negative online reviews about your experience.
- If your dental insurance was involved in any aspect of your treatment, you could file a complaint with the insurance company.
- If your dentist is uncooperative, you can file a complaint with the state dental board.
- You can hire a malpractice attorney, but the cost involved may not be worth it.
Replacing an overdenture should take about three weeks. When a dentist cannot fit the denture over your implants, their experience with overdentures is questionable. Ordering new gaskets was not the solution, and we suspect that your dentist does not have an answer.
We suggest that you begin by finding an experienced implant dentist for a second opinion. After the dentist identifies the issue, ask your current dentist for a refund based on the facts. But ask nicely, explaining that you understand he is in a difficult position but so are you. If your dentist resists, then ask about his experience with implant overdentures. You can proceed with the steps we listed about how to encourage your dentist to issue a refund.
Best wishes. Please let us know when you have a success story to share.
Dr. Gilberto Tostado of San Antonio, TX, sponsors this post.