I have had crooked teeth and some crowding most of my life. I finally caved and decided to see a cosmetic dentist who said a smile makeover would help me. I figured I would need braces but I was convinced when he said he could correct my issues with other cosmetic dentistry treatments. Who wants to wear ugly, metal braces – right?
His recommendations were for my left, lateral incisor to get dental bonding done on it. Also, he recommended a single porcelain veneer for my right, lateral incisor. Then, he explained how ‘shaping’ would realign my teeth and help with the crowding, and when it was all said and done that I would have a beautiful new smile.
For the lower teeth, he said he did shaping on the lower teeth. I never agreed to that cost and it ended up being about $1,300. The grand total was $9,000! I cannot believe I went through with all of this work and am devastated at how everything turned out. The porcelain veneer doesn’t look right, it’s far too small and I have a gap between my tooth and the gums. I think that my teeth still look crowded and uneven, so the ‘shaping’ wasn’t successful.
When I explained to him how unhappy I am at the end result, he said that getting four more porcelain crowns on my top teeth would take care of it. And by the way, that would just be another $7,000 since he would also need to do root canals on the teeth that were getting crowns. Needless to say, I have lost confidence in his ability and am feeling completely taken advantage of.
I decided to see another cosmetic dentist to get a second opinion. His consensus was that four porcelain veneers would improve the original crowding and improve my alignment issues. He didn’t think crowns or root canals were necessary at all. And the total of the four porcelain veneers would be around $4,500.
Do you think I have any hope in getting refunded from my original dentist, so I can hopefully move forward with the new dentist? I am feeling so defeated and disappointed right now.
-Mike in Texas
Wow – this sounds like a complete cosmetic dentist horror story! First off, I’m sorry you’re having to experience this. However, it isn’t surprising because sadly it happens quite often when cosmetic dentists get in over their heads. So, thank you for sharing your story because the more we share with others, it raises awareness.
From what you have described it sounds like your dentist did take advantage of you and didn’t provide with the results that he said he would. Now, you are left with a substandard smile makeover. You should definitely try to move forward with getting a refund. But, you should be a little careful and strategic in how you go about it.
Let’s first talk about the new dentist. I think you need to be more cautious that this new dentist will indeed be able to deliver the results you’re after. Here is the main issue. Cosmetic dentistry is not a designated specialty area within dentistry. This means any dentist can make the claim to be one, without any additional training or experience because it’s not taught in dental school. In fact, less than 2% of all dentists actually have the expertise to do beautiful smile makeovers. It takes extensive training and an eye for aesthetics to deliver beautiful, lifelike smiles.
It would be a good idea at this point to get a third opinion from another dentist. This time, make sure you research their credentials, ask to see examples of similar cases to yours and see if you can find one that is an accredited cosmetic dentist with a reputable cosmetic dentistry organization. This will help protect you from a similar situation that you just experienced.
Now, we’re not saying that the second dentist isn’t qualified, there are just far too many issues in cosmetic dentistry that you really need to do your homework and find an expert that you can trust.
Now, regarding your question about pursuing a refund from the first dentist. It would be wise to start with some light pressure. See how he reacts when you explain that the results isn’t what you expected or what he promised.
Then, when you have found a new cosmetic dentist, you could see if they would be willing to make a call on your behalf. Dentists are very sensitive about what their peers think of them. So, if the new dentist can confirm that the work was substandard, it will help your case.
It sounds like this dentist may be difficult based on how he has treated you so far. So, follow the steps and then you may need to ramp up the pressure. You could escalate by complaining to the dental board and if that fails, you may need to seek legal counsel.
Having some documentation from whichever new cosmetic dentist you select, will go a long way in helping you see this all through.
Again, thank you for sharing your story. Hopefully, it is helpful to others who are considering cosmetic dentistry. Best of luck on your next steps.
This post is sponsored by Barrington cosmetic dentist James T. Gavrilos, DDS.