I went to a dentist because I was finally in a position to fix my teeth. My four front teeth are overcrowded and misaligned. My dentist told me using smile makeover techniques with cosmetic dentistry I could fix my teeth without braces. In total, he did dental bonding, two porcelain veneers, and some tooth shaping. He also said he shaped some lower teeth, which we never actually discussed. I wish he hadn’t done that because it added to the price. I paid a total cost of $9.3K. When it was “finsihed”, there really wasn’t much of a difference. My teeth were still misaligned and I didn’t feel like it was prettier in any way. I asked how it was possible to get the teeth to look like he said they would. He told me I’d need to do four root canals and dental crowns, of course, there is a significant additional cost. I wasn’t too keen on that so I went to see another dentist to see what they thought. Their solution was to just whiten my teeth and then do four porcelain veneers. There cost for that was only $7K. I like that idea. Is there any way for me to recoup my original $9.3K?
I am sorry for what you have been through. We are going to file this in one of the many cosmetic dentistry horror stories people write to us seeking advice. One of the problems you are facing is that there isn’t a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry. On top of that, dentists are not taught much in dental school about doing smile makeovers.
The dentist who did your smile makeover obviously hasn’t invested much in his cosmetic dentistry training. Nor has he given you the smile he told you that he would provide. I think you have a good case for a refund. Before we get into that, I want to make sure the next dentist you see to repair this is qualified.
My suggestion is that you look on the mynewsmile.com website. They prescreen cosmetic dentists who wish to be listed. They cannot purchase their way on. Instead, they have to demonstrate their technical skills, training, and artistry. Anyone they list will give you a stunning smile.
The second dentist was on the right track. You do not need root canals or dental crowns. Please don’t let anyone do that to your teeth. Porcelain veneers are sufficient and will give you a beautiful result with an artistic dentist. The teeth whitening makes sense too if your smile is wider than the number of veneers you are getting. It also helps your bottom arch to blend.
Tips for Getting a Dental Refund
With some dentists, who care about patient satisfaction, you can simply ask for a refund when the work done wasn’t what was promised. However, some dentists are more stubborn than others. While I always recommend simply asking first in order to give them an opportunity to do the right thing, you do need some tips in case they don’t.
First, let them know you are doing them a favor. Often, a dentist will not know that written requests for a refund have to get reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank. It helps to educate them and give them an out by saying something like the following.
“I don’t want to make things difficult for you. This is why I am making an oral request, instead of a written one which would have to be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank.”
If he still doesn’t comply, here are my recommendations:
- Make a written request, explaining your reasons so it is on record.
- Write a negative online review, which puts them in a position of needing to respond in order to save their reputation.
- Complain to the dental board. With a legitimate complaint, the dental board can make life quite difficult for dentists. He’ll want to avoid this, so let him know it is your next step. That may spur him on.
- Go to a lawyer. Often just the letter from the lawyer will be enough. With a legitimate complaint, the dentist’s malpractice insurance will encourage him to settle.
Best of luck. Make sure you get an expert cosmetic dentist to fix this.
This blog is brought to you by Philadelphia Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Michael Weiss.