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Who pays?

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Old 06-04-2002, 08:50 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 8
Mythirdone HB User
Question Who pays?

I have noticed that many of you have serious problems where the dentist either could have done more (referred you to more competant care or prescribed meds sooner) or is actually the cause of the problem (RCT on the wrong tooth, drilling with no cold water thus "cooking" the nerve). Nobody, as far as I can see in this board, has requested a refund for shoddy service. My question is:

When a dentist causes a problem and you suffer further expense (often exhausting your insurance and then dipping into savings), how many of you have ever sought a refund for the shoddy service or FREE service to correct the problem? Of those who have tried, how many are successful? Could you briefly describe the situation surrounding your complaint?

Let's face it, if we had a plumber come in to repair a leak and he replaced a washer in the wrong tap, would you pay? If he eventually replaced the correct washer, would you feel obligated to pay TWICE? Why do dentists get away with it so often? That raises a different question. If you felt that you should get a refund but didn't ask for one, why not? Where you fearful of appearing "cheap" or "ungrateful"? Did you feel intimidated by the jargon? Did you just feel that the dentist would just say "No" and you would feel rejected?

We are keen to know!!!

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Old 06-18-2002, 07:11 AM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Midwestern U.S.
Posts: 184
Piperdreams HB User

I just did. I just came back from the office of my former dentist. I dropped off a letter to him asking for a refund for my ill-fitting crown. Ever since that crown, I have been having all kinds of problems. I voiced my concerns to him numerous times and each and every time he brushed me off. In the letter, I asked for a refund for the crown since I need to have that crown replaced soon. I also told him that if he refuses to do so I will file a complaint with my state's dental board and I will. I am determined this time.


Old 06-18-2002, 09:32 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Northeast US
Posts: 276
antoni HB User

Hi Piper,

You raised a very good point. I don;t know why where dental is concerned people do nothing.

I had 9 fillings done a year ago through this "new technology" of drilless dentistry which screwed up my bite and I've had problems ever since. I had to have one problem molar refilled two times in the past year.
The dentist that did the original procedure was really incompetent and acted like he didn't know how to do a bite adjustment with multiple fillings. I saw and spent nearly $1,000 out of my own pocket in the past year as well as my insurance being dipped into for all the dentists that tried to do the repairs to no avail.

It's on my mind constantly to go back to the original dentist to get my money back, and if I didn;t get it back, threaten to sue in small claims court. I also looked at filing a complaint with the New York State Department of licensure to report him. ALthough in my case, when I complained to him, he said I didn't speak up enough in saying that things weren't right which wasn't true. Also, I didn't keep really good documentation(which is needed anytime you see the dentist even if it is just for a followup). My story is so involved and I find that the bad part is the dentists protected the original dentist. They acted like they did not want to back me up. One said, it would do no good to complain as he said malpractice in dental is hard to prove or not providing service is VERY hard to prove. My current dentist that seems pretty good told me to "JUST LET IT GO". Moral of the story is they all cover for each other and when it comes down to it whoever you complain to will try and get the opionions of other dentist. It must be a secret covenant they have with each other never to complain about another dentists work. That's how they get away with it!!!! I am so disgusted because all of the dentists I saw stunk(I got them out of the yellow pages). They also have all sneaky ways of lying to make it look like they did nothing wrong.

So in my case, I never asked for a refund because the original dentist just lied and said it wasnt' his fault. And the dentists after him would not say a bad word. My point is to beware in the first place and try not to fall under the drill of quacks because there seem to be so many of them in dentistry and they all stick together.

Good luck in your efforts. I hope you can get a refund or at least report the dentist.


Old 06-18-2002, 10:14 AM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Midwestern U.S.
Posts: 184
Piperdreams HB User

Hi Antonia:

My bite sooo out of alignment ever since that lousy crown that I have difficulty eating and have constant pain-day and night.

To tell you the truth, I don't think I will get a refund from the dentist. He probably will come back with a ton of excuses, arguments. Who knows he may even put the blame on me to cover himself. I know I will eventually file a complaint with the dental board; if nothing he will get some headache. You are right the dentists tend to stick together. I live in a fairly small college town. I realized that the second dentist did not want to admit the crummy job done by the former dentist (They may be buddies, who knows). When I kept asking him questions, he finally admitted that it is probably the lab person's fault who made the crown. Well, in my opinion the dentist should have sent it back to the lab for a better one then. My sister-in-law is a dentist and she says she sometimes returns the crowns to the lab if she thinks they are poorly made.

Take care,


Old 06-18-2002, 12:12 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Northeast US
Posts: 276
antoni HB User

A bad bite is a pain -- just one tooth being off causes so much trouble. Once the bad crown is changed things should be OK I think.

I just had a thought. You may be able to do something, espescially if you haven't had the repair work done yet. It's best when you can catch your original dentist on something before another dentist has a chance to change what he did. Get all the proof and documentation from whoever will do the repair crown(this is like getting an estimate for bad plumbing that needs to be done over) writing up what's involved.

Here in New York(and in all states) dentists are licensed by what's called The Office of the Professions- New York state licensing division. In your state there should be the same office. So you can report him that way. You call an 800 number and ask for a complaint form or you may be able to do it over the internet. I was told if I filed a complaint, an investigator from the state would contact me and ask me questions and also to be prepared to give the names and phone numbers of the dentists that will do, or did the repair work. So who knows maybe this would help. I would do this but my story is so long and my documentation wasn't the greatest like I said. I also felt like filing a claim in small claims court(if the dentist didn't show up, he would lose the claim by default) just to be annoying to him. But then I would have to miss work and be aggravated by his lies and I feel my case would have been hard to prove.

With me, I hadn't had any dental work done for like 25 years(only one tooth had a filling the rest were untouched and what he did(the nine ill fitting fillings traumatized and changed my mouth/bite forever) that's why I'm upset too. A couple dentists did let out that probably the procedure wasn;t even necessary(but again this couldn't be proved so they said-there was no way to tell for sure).

But let us know how things go. I'm sure other people will benefit if they can find a way to get a refund or at least not let their dentist get away with bad work.

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