I’ve been a patient at a large dental chain for the past four years. Depending on my circumstances, I’ve had work done at two locations – one close to home and the other near work. When I recently visited the office near my house, the dentist asked me who placed fillings on two molar teeth because they looked deteriorated on my x-rays. She said that I probably needed root canal treatment and crowns.
After I told the dentist that I received the fillings at the same practice to replace old silver fillings with white ones, she was silent for a few seconds. She explained that if I didn’t get root canals and new crowns, an infection would worsen the situation.
I got a second opinion at a dental practice that is not a chain. The dentist confirmed that I need root canal treatment and crowns. I’m not sure why the chain dental practice didn’t recognize that before wasting my money on fillings. How can I get a refund before leaving this practice? Thank you. Gerard from Memphis
Thank you for contacting us. We are sorry to hear about your experience. Placing composite fillings takes more skill and time than placing silver fillings. But composite fillings are healthier for teeth, and when completed correctly by a cosmetic dentist, the fillings preserve tooth structure and seal out bacteria. But if you needed crowns instead of fillings, a dentist misjudged the condition of your teeth.
We recommend getting another second opinion to confirm that you need root canal treatment and dental crowns. Ask for a copy of your dental records from the chain dental practice.
Also, be upfront about getting another second opinion. If you want to get the work done from the first dentist from whom you received a second opinion, explain that you’re upset about the confusion. Also, ask if they will help you get a refund from the chain for placing defective composite fillings or placing them when you need crowns.
After your new second opinion, if the dentist agrees that you need root canal treatment and crowns, ask your new dentist to call the dentist who placed the fillings. Your dentist should explain:
- You received two independent second opinions
- Both dentists confirm that you need root canal treatment and crowns.
- You want a refund.
If the dentist from the chain dental practice doesn’t want to issue a refund, you can do three things:
- Explain that you will post online reviews on social media and any review platforms the practice uses.
- Tell the dentist that you will file a complaint with the state dental board.
- Explain that you will speak with an attorney, although you probably don’t have a big malpractice case.
Although we can’t guarantee that the dentist will refund you, you can try.
Large dental practices usually have high overhead costs and are driven to be profitable. They often hire many dentists who come and go. Depending on which day of the week you have an appointment, you may receive care from multiple dentists. It can be challenging to establish a relationship with one dentist you trust. But all large practices are not the same. Some consistently offer high-quality care.
Generally, dentists at smaller practices have a higher level of care, ethics, and professionalism. We hope your new dentist will restore your teeth well and help you regain good oral health and a great smile.
San Antonio prosthodontist and cosmetic dentist Dr. Gilberto Tostado sponsors this post.