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My Dentist Caused a Dental Emergency and Won’t Refund Me


My Dentist Caused a Dental Emergency and Won’t Refund Me

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I had a crown put on a front tooth because of a slight deformity. There was nothing wrong with the health of the tooth. A few weeks later, the tooth became very sensitive. My dental office said that was fairly normal after a crown so I didn’t think much about it. Because it was my first dental crown, I trusted them. A couple of weeks after that and the area up to my eyeball was swollen. I went to the ER and they told me I had a dental issue. They gave me some temporary antibiotics and said I needed to be seen right away. My dentist couldn’t fit me in, so I called around and found someone who was willing to schedule me for an emergency appointment even though I wasn’t a patient. I was so grateful!!

This dentist told me that the tooth was now infected and that I’d need a root canal treatment and a new dental crown. I was flabbergasted and asked how that would be possible. She told me that the margins were left open, which led to bacteria getting in to the area. He even showed me the problem on an x-ray. I called my dentist and asked them to pay for the emergency appointment as well as the subsequent treatment because their treatment failed. They refused and tried to blame me for not taking care of the crown. I responded that I wouldn’t not be paying the remainder on this defective crown. They’ve now threatened to sue me if I don’t. What can I do? Is there a way to get my money back?


Dear Anna,

A woman touching the side of her face, clearly in pain.

First, let me express that I am so sorry this happened to you. Bear in mind that I have not examined you, but based on what you described, your dentist violated the basic standard of care. Once a dental crown is seated, the most important thing that a dentist can do is run an explorer around the margins in order to ensure there is a secure fit.

I don’t know that it would be worth the cost in time and money to go to court over this, I do think you can at the least get a refund. Start by having the emergency dentist document what was wrong with your dental crowns. Then, take it over to your dentist’s office and ask for a refund again. If they still refuse, then you have some options.

1. You could sue them, but it is hard to make that fiscally worth it. Though, you could just see if a lawyer will write a letter on a letterhead, threatening them, which may make them think you are willing to go to court.
2. Let them know you are going to write a negative review warning other patients on every review service. This will definitely cut into their business.
3. You can tell them you will be taking the documentation to the dental board.

One other thing, I am a bit confused as to why your dentist did a dental crown rather than a porcelain veneer for a tooth with a mild deformity. This hints to me that your dentist not only does not have skills with the basics but does not understand cosmetic dentistry either.

This blog is brought to you by Mt. Dora Dentist Dr. Michelle Stillman.