I went to my dentist in the hopes of having my top four front teeth fixed. They are overcrowded and misaligned. My dentist said if we did cosmetic dentistry, it could make the teeth appear aligned and not overcrowded and I wouldn’t have to deal with two years of braces. That sounded great to me, so I agreed. His assessment was to do dental bonding on the #10 tooth, a porcelain veneer on the #7 tooth, and shaping of the other visible upper teeth. He told me that would take care of all the appearance issues. By the time he finished, the teeth were still overcrowded and misaligned and he charged me a little over 9K, which included some shaping of the lower teeth, which I never signed on for. I asked him about the results he promised me and he said in order to achieve that I would need four dental crowns on the top teeth, including root canals. All of this additional work would cost me another 7K. I decided it was time for a second opinion. The next dentist said that all this smile makeover would have required would be some teeth whitening and four porcelain veneers on the upper teeth with no root canal treatments and no crowns. I am going to get this done with the second dentist. My question is, is there a way for me to get back the money I poured into this with my original dentist?
We are gathering together a large number of cosmetic dentistry horror stories, such as yours, in order to warn patients about the importance of choosing the right dentist when it comes to cosmetic dental work. You have certainly been taken advantage of by this dentist. First, he promised results he did not deliver. Secondly, he charged you for work you didn’t agree to (which is illegal). Finally, he changed the treatment plan once you weren’t happy with the results. If that was the right course of action, why didn’t he suggest that to begin with?
I am glad you sought a second opinion, and porcelain veneers are definitely a better option for the type of smile you’ll like. The word of this second dentist should help you secure the refund I believe you are entitled to. However, before you do that, I want you to make sure this second dentist is any more qualified to give you a better result than the first dentist. Many patients don’t realize that not only are smile makeovers not taught in dental school, but there isn’t a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry. This means any dentist can do the work regardless of the training they invested in (or didn’t).
In your place, I would seek out an AACD accredited dentist. These are the top cosmetic dentists in the country with proven technical skills and artistry. Then, have that dentist help you secure your refund and do the follow-up work.
With regard to your refund, under most circumstances, most dentists would care enough about the opinion of their peers to give you that refund. However, it sounds to me like your dentist may be less interested in the opinions of his patients and peers than in his pocketbook. In that case, you may have to get tough and threaten to sue him. I am fairly certain his insurance company will tell him to settle.
This blog is brought to you by Tulsa Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Jeomre Cha.