Theriot Family Dental

Getting a Refund When a Dentist Does It Wrong

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I had a dental crown placed on a tooth. It was purely for cosmetic reasons. The tooth itself was healthy. A few weeks later it started hurting and was sensitive to hot and cold. I called the dentist and he said that was pretty normal for the first few weeks. I’d never had a crown before so I just went with what he said. A few months later, my face swelled up and was in so much pain that a neighbor took me to the emergency room. They gave me an antibiotic but told me I needed to see a dentist. I missed a full week of work. When I got in to see another dentist he told me that my tooth needed a root canal treatment and would need a new crown as well. I couldn’t understand how that could happen and he told me that the margin of my crown was left open, which led to the tooth getting infected. I’ve missed a week of work, have suffered incredible pain and now I find out that I have to spend even more money for an additional procedure as well as replace the work he did. I was a bit upset and wanted the original dentist to pay for some of this work. When I called their office, they told me that I am responsible for the dental work after I leave their office and I should have cared for the crown better. The second dentist showed me the x-rays and the margin was huge. This was their fault. Is there any way to get my money back?


Dear Laurie,

Man grabbing his jaw in pain.

I’m sorry this happened to you. While I haven’t examined you and am going on what you’ve described, it does sound like your dentist has violated the standard of care. Once he placed the crown, he should have run an explorer around the margins to ensure that the crown has a good fit. Additionally, the sensitivity to hot and cold was an indication that something was wrong and this wasn’t just tenderness.

I’m glad this other dentist did an x-ray, which will be a documentation of the first dentist’s negligence. The fact that it led to a dental emergency, can also stregthen your argument, which you also have documentation for.

When it comes to getting a dental refund, you have a few things you can try. I would start by telling him that you are going to complain to the dental board as well as write a review warning off other patients. Make certain he knows you have documentation showing what went wrong. If that doesn’t work, you can ask the second dentist to call the first dentist. Sometimes, a phone call from a peer will make more of a difference to a dentist who is uncooperative. There is always a lawyer option as well, but I don’t know how much you’d get in a malpractice suit for this. It may not be worth your money. However, if he is still uncooperative, you could get a lawyer to write a threatening letter on official stationary. This will make the dentist think you’re willing to go to court and could help sway him a bit.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. John Theriot.