Best way to get a refund for a botched dental procedure??
September 3, 2013 11:06 AM   Subscribe

I had a dental implant that totally went wrong and was installed improperly. I now am going to get it redone by a new dentist, and would like to do my best to get a refund from the previous dentist. What’s the best way to go about this? Have you had any luck in getting a refund from a dentist/doctor?

Last week I posted about my messed up dental procedure. A refresher and update:

-February 5 I had the abscessed tooth extracted and implant post placed
-August 12th I got my abutment placed, no Xray after this procedure, no temporary crown. I got 3D imaging instead of a mold to create the crown.
-August 26th I got my crown. It was totally done wrong, and was some of the worst pain in my life for the next 3 days. (More in mylast post for the extra curious.)

PHOTOS OF CROWN: Includes in my mouth, removed crown, and Xray of final product from dentist 2.

I knew it was all done wrong and I was in severe pain. We called that day to dentist 1, and got a generic “If you’re not happy he will fix it for free. He’s unavailable at the moment but we have an appointment tomorrow.”

-Tuesday August 27 I got an appointment with Dentist 2 – an implant and aesthetics specialist. He took an Xray, chatted with me, checked it out and tells me the following: (Also seen on my Xray.)

1) The implant is too long. He would have picked a shorter one, as this one is too close to my nerve canal. (It should thankfully be fine, as I had no pain prior to the crown.)

2) The abutment is placed wrong. It is crooked and not flush with the implant, as it should be. It could “last years” but is not stable in the long run and will need to be replaced or redone.

3) The crown is not set correctly. It should be further to my gum line. Aesthetically it is not correct, but functionally, it could last a while, but I was having pain. He said if the pain went down he could reshape the current crown so I wasn’t biting on my cheek.

4) It may also be important to note that my last Xray from Dentist 1 right before the abutment, but I didn't have one after the abutment or implant at Dentist 1 - which seemed really weird to me. (Xray in photos is from Dentist 2.)

-Thursday August 29 I was in severe pain still, so I had Dentist 2 numb me up, remove the crown and abutment, and he placed a healing collar to keep some of the tissue from growing back. I LOVE dentist 2. He explained everything to me. He even took my removed crown/abutment and showed me how it was set wrong, and how it should be set with a sample implant. It was amazing.

Cost: Dentist 2 wants $1600 to replace the abutment and crown. It was already $200 for the removal and $50 for my first appointment and Xray with him. I don’t have $1600 right now. I just quit my job, and I am still paying off the $1300 that I charged for Dentist 1, who messed it all up.

Facts: I used Care Credit for Dentist 1 and paid upfront. I am based in Utah. I not only need the refund, but want it since they messed up so bad. My husband is fine backing me up and will honestly do most of the talking since I’m a little too pissed off about it. I will make a complaint to Care Credit and leave some negative reviews online for them regardless of what happens.

Questions: So, what’s the best way to get a refund from Dentist 1? I don’t know what options I have. Do I send a certified letter? Go in?
If they don’t give me a refund, whom can I complain to and try to get some pull?

I don’t have time or money to make this a court or lawyer matter, unless there would be a huge benefit – which I doubt. I really want to get this off my Care Credit, because I still have about $800 left to pay off, which at my current payments will take about 8 months. That would mean that worst case, I can't get a new tooth for up to a year without a refund, depending on my job situation. Help!!
posted by Crystalinne to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
“If you’re not happy he will fix it for free. He’s unavailable at the moment but we have an appointment tomorrow.”

That isn't generic, that's specific and totally reasonable!

Why didn't you just make an appointment for the next day?
posted by oceanjesse at 11:18 AM on September 3, 2013 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: I should have clarified, sorry. I did not want to return to Dentist 1 after I was in so much pain and it was done so wrong. Dentist 1 did a very poor job of communicating, and after getting a second opinion and seeing how much was done wrong with the entire implant, there is no way I would return. (I'm not a dentist, but I can even see everything that's wrong on the Xray that Dentist 2 took.) I do not trust Dentist 1 at all. His work was not done correctly in the first place, it wasn't just an aesthetic mistake it was installed improperly and he didn't even check his work. (There may be slightly more info on this in my last post.)
posted by Crystalinne at 11:28 AM on September 3, 2013

"I am 100% not comfortable having him fix the work that he botched to begin with. This has been traumatic and debilitating. Please refund me completely today."
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:31 AM on September 3, 2013 [4 favorites]

Apologies in advance if this is pedantic, but is there any reason why you haven't just asked them for a refund in writing?

Just a standard business letter that says something like,

"On 8/26/13, after two previous appointments in preparation, Dr. Jones placed a crown in my mouth. Unfortunately, I experienced severe pain that caused me to have to go to an emergency dentist the next day.

The cause of my severe pain was that the implant was too long, placing it too near my nerve canal, the abutment was crooked and not flush with the implant, and the crown itself was not in close proximity to my gumline. While I understand that part of prosthodonics is aesthetics, the work was objectively botched, and had to be removed via emergency dental surgery. I have documentation, including x-rays, that show the errors in the placement of the implant, abutment, and crown.

Your office was kind enough to offer to fix it for free, which I appreciate. However, after it was put in incorrectly in the first place, I was in so much pain that I am frankly terrified to go back and have the same doctor try again. This experience has been traumatic and caused me great harm. Please refund me the $1600 I paid you upfront."
posted by juniperesque at 11:40 AM on September 3, 2013 [14 favorites]

You can also file a complaint with Utah's Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, if this is not handled to your satisfaction.
posted by jabes at 12:47 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

After you drop off the letter based on juniperesque's draft, call the next day and ask when you can pick up the refund. If you don't get a full refund, ask around to find a lawyer who will request the refund for you on law office stationery. Lawyers are great at being snotty and vaguely threatening in lawyerspeak. After that, Small Claims Court will be an option; make sure you have as much documentation as possible. Small Claims Court doesn't require a lawyer, you tell your story and present your evidence, and the judge decides based on common sense, but without the Judge Judy snark.
posted by theora55 at 5:37 PM on September 3, 2013

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