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How to Get a Refund Because of a Dental Mistake

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I had a crown put on one of my teeth because it was a slightly slanted tooth. A few weeks after the crown was placed, I noticed that I started having sensitivity to hot and cold. I called the dentist’s office and he said that those sensitivities are normal the first few weeks. I was a bit confused about that because it had not happened before that, but decided to trust him. A few months later, it was hurting so much that I went to the E.R. They told me I needed to see a dentist. The next morning my cheek was completely swelled. I called a dentist who could see me the very next day. This dentist told me the tooth was severely infected and I needed to have a root canal treatment done. I was shocked and asked how it got infected with a dental crown on it and she told me the margins were open and showed it to me on the x-ray. When I called the original dentist, thinking that they should pay for my root canal treatment, they blamed me for not taking care of the crown. Is there any way I can get my money back from this dentist because I’m obviously going to have to pay for this root canal treatment?


Dear Brooke,

A porcelain crown being placed on a tooth

I am sorry that this happened to you. Your dentist violated the standard of care and that led to you having a dental emergency. Even worse, they refuse to take responsibility. A dentist is supposed to run an explorer around the margins of the dental crown to make sure it is fitted correctly. Otherwise, they risk what happened to you.

The good news is that you have another dentist telling you that your crown was done incorrectly and has x-ray proof to help with that. Unfortunately, the amount you would get generally isn’t worth the expense of a malpractice suit. That being said, there are some things you can do that will increase your chances of a dental refund.

First, I would threaten to complain to the dental board. I don’t know a dentist who would be thrilled at that prospect, especially when you have documentation. Second, threaten to call your insurance company and tell them about the shoddy work. A third option is to ask the dentist who helped you during your dental emergency to speak to your dentist. Sometimes, they are more willing to give a refund so as to not look bad in front of their peers. Finally, you could ask a lawyer to write a threatening letter on official letterhead. It will not cost you as much as a court case and can produce results because the dentist thinks you are willing to go to court.

This blog is brought to you by Moline Dentist Dr. Thomas Goebel.