Tag Archives: dental crowns

“Affordable” Dentist Disaster

I went in for a dental crown with a guy who was cheaper than the other dentists in town. I was looking to save some money but that was a big mistake. The temporary crown fell off once. I wasn’t too worried about that as it is temporary. Then, the permanent ones have fallen off over five times in as many weeks. On top of that, it is several shades whiter than my regular teeth and really sticks out…when it is staying in. I complained to my dentist and he said that he could change the color for another $400. I couldn’t afford that so felt stuck with the color. Then the crown fell out yet again and I asked him what he was going to do to keep this from constantly falling out. He said he would tell the lab the crown is defective and have them replace it. I was very clear with him that I did not want to pay any more for this crown because I’ve already paid in full and just need it to stay in. It’s not my fault it is defective. He agreed. THEN, after I get the new crown, which still doesn’t match, by the way, I get a bill for $423 saying this is what I owe after insurance from the original crown. But, I already paid that and feel like they are being deceptive to get me to pay for the new crown. What do I do?

Jenny

Dear Jenny,

Dollar sign hatching from an egg
There is a difference between affordable and cheap dentistry

Wow. I am sorry to hear everything you have gone through with this unethical dentist. The first thing I want you to do is NOT pay any further money. If you already paid the new fee, see if your bank will reverse the charges.

When a dentist provides a dental crown, there is a basic understanding that it will match your other teeth and stay in. That is dentistry 101. It seems like your dentist is more of a scam artist. What he’s telling you is “I will provide a dental crown. However, if you want it to match your teeth it will be $400 more. Plus, if you want it to stay in, that will be another $423. He sounds more like a used car shyster than a medical practitioner.

Next, do not return to the office. I want you to go to another dentist in your local area and recruit them to help you get a refund. If you are not dealing with a front tooth, you will not need an expert cosmetic dentist, just an honest one. There are more honest dentists than unethical ones, though it probably doesn’t seem that way now.

If your dentist refuses the refund, tell him you will be reporting him to the dental board. Believe me, they will be on your side.

Please don’t forget to leave a review about what this dentist did to warn any other potential victims.

I know you were looking to save money, but there is a big difference between a cheap dentist and an affordable one. Never go with the dentist who is substantially lower than the rest of the dentists in that area. It’s usually a red flag. However, look for an affordable dentist whose prices are reasonable and who is willing to work with you on payments.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Dental Disaster in Mexico

I went to Mexico to have two dental crowns done because it was supposed to be a lot cheaper than having it done in the United States. In two days the first crown fell off and I had to go back. When I did, they told me I needed a root canal before they could replace the crown. I had some doubts about that becuase the tooth wasn’t hurting but they seemed certain it was necessary. Then, it starting have senstivivity to hot and cold. Now I can’t even eat with it. I called them and they told me I needed to come back in. These trips are pretty extensive so I decided to just get a second opinion with a local dentist. He said the tooth did not need a root canal and is actually cracked and needs to be extracted and replaced. My question is, do you think it is reasonable to ask them to apply the cost of the unnecessary root canal they did toward the cost of the extraction and dental implant?

Pam

Dear Pam,

What a disaster. While I am sure it is reasonable, I don’t know if you really want them doing that. A dental crown is one of the first things a dentist learns how to do in dental school. He couldn’t even do that right. Then, they gave you an unnecessary root canal treatment. AND, they didn’t even do it right because you should not have had any sensitivity to hot or cold.

Dental implants are one of the most advanced procedures in dentistry. If they can that wrong, it will cause you serious, permanent injury. What if they place it on a nerve? Or you get an infection in your jaw that causes you to lose bone?

In your place, I would bite the bullet and have this done in the United States with a reputable dentist with dental implant training and experience.

I do not know what the laws are in Mexico as far as getting a refund for malpractice, but you can at least try.

Dental tourism is always a gamble. Sometimes it works out. The problem is in the cases where it doesn’t, it is always a disater and in many cases people end up with permanent problems.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Broken Front Tooth in Child

My seven year old daughter broke a front tooth after a fall. The dentist said it is not anything to worry about and he can schedule me for six weeks from now. I really want this taken care of immediately and asked him for a referral. Instead, he told me that the nerves needed time to settle before anything could be done and no one would see me sooner. Is that accurate?

Karen

Dear Karen,

No, there is no reason to wait. My only guess as to why he said that is he wanted to keep you at his practice. That being said, I do want to check something. Did he do an x-ray and tell you everything is fine and he can do the repair in six weeks or did he just tell you everything was fine when you tried to schedule an appointment without actually seeing her? If he didn’t examine her, I would feel more at ease if she at least had an x-ray done to see what you are dealing with.

If there is no damage to the pulp, then a cosmetic fix is all she will need. This can be solved with dental bonding, but you’ll want to go see a cosmetic dentist for that.

If the pulp was damaged, there may be a point where she’ll need a dental crown because the tooth will start turning gray. However, that is a wait-and-see situation.

Find a different pediatric dentist for your daughter. You can even see a general dentist who treats children. They all did a pediatric rotation and she will be in safe hands.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Porcelain Crowns Turning Yellow

I had porcelain crowns made a little over six months ago. They were so beautiful and shiny when I first got them. Now, they are dull and turning yellow. Do you know what could have happened? I do everything I am supposed to. I brush. I floss. I don’t even drink coffee. I’d really like them to look like they looked six months ago.

Laurie

Dear Laurie,

I want you to know this is not your fault. Porcelain crowns should last you several years. I can think of a couple of things that happened here, but you are going to need to have another dentist look at them to determine which one it is.

The first thing that comes to mind is an error on the part of the hygienist. You mentioned this happened a little after six months ago. That is long enough for you to go in for a cleaning appointment. If your hygienist used something like a power prophy jet, then it would have removed the glazing off the porcelain. This is what protects the crown from picking up stains and gives it that shiny look.

Another thing your hygienist could have used is acidulated fluoride which will also damage the glazing by etching it.

A second possibility is that your dentist told you that you were getting porcelain crowns, but actually gave you a different type of material that wears down and stains more quickly. It is not ethical, but there are dentists who do it.

Getting an Unbiased Second Opinion

Go to another dentist to get eyes on the dental crowns in order to find out the real problem. The key to getting a true, unbiased second opinion is to not tell the second opinion dentist who originally did the work. The dental world is a small world. It is very likely the two dentists know each other.

You don’t want the second opinion dentist to feel conflicted about saying something negative regarding a colleague’s work. If he asks who did the work, just tell him you want his unbiased opinion so you will keep the name of the dentist to yourself. He or she should understand that.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Can’t Afford Next Treatment

I had a Maryland Bridge, but ended up being allergic to part of it. I can’t use that anymore and my dentist is inisisting my only option now is a dental implant. I priced that originally and couldn’t afford it. Surely there is another option, but my dentist is insisting this is it.

Carol.

Dear Carol,

A dollar sign hatching out of an egg

I’m sorry that you have had such a hard time with this tooth replacement. It is unfair of your dentist to insist on the most expensive treatment. While everyone wants the best option, sometimes our budget precludes that. What disappoints me is your dentist is ethically bound to at least make you aware of all your options, even if he won’t do them.

You will have more success with a dentist that understands budgetary limitations. If your dentist doesn’t look for someone who advertises as an affordable dentist. They’ll be more willing to offer you the options that work for your pocketbook. Most are even willing to accept payment plans.

Affordable Options to a Dental Implant

The first thing I would suggest to you is a zirconia or porcelain bridge. This is a false tooth suspended between two dental crowns. These are metal-free and won’t give you the same allergy issues that you faced with your last treatment.

If that doesn’t work for you financially, there are allso removable partial dentures. You’ll just need to make certain your dentist knows you will want metal free clasps.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Do Amalgam Fillings Stain Teeth?

I have two amalgam fillings that cover about 70% of my tooth. I want to remove them and replace them with composite fillings. He said the amalgam stains teeth and they won’t look nearly as good. Is that true? Should I leave the amalgam fillings on?

Meredith

Dear Meredith,

While there is some staining of teeth with amalgam fillings, they will always look better with composite fillings. Always. In addition, while amalgam fillings simply rest on the tooth, composite fillings are bonded directly to the tooth which strengthens the tooth and puts it at less of a risk for fracture.

I suspect your dentist said that to disuade you from switching. This is likely because he is uncomfortable placing composite fillings. They are placed with a completely different technique than he or she is used to placing the old amalgam fillings.

I don’t recommend you push him into doing it though. There are horror stories of patients who ended up needing a root canal treatment after a dentist placed them incorrectly. Even if it isn’t that bad, you could end up with other issues.

If you want this done right, I suggest going to a dentist who is familiar with placing them. You can do an internet search using the term mercury-free dentist. These dentists only place composite fillings and have the technique down pat.

I have one other concern I’d like to address. You mentioned your current fillings cover 70% of your tooth. In that case, your dentist really should have done a dental crown to adequately protect your tooth. This additional information puts me more in doubt of his abilities. You may want to start looking for another dentist, who can better meet your needs.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

What Dental Treatments Do I Need as an Adult?

Hi there,

I keep on top of my dental appointments, going every six months. However, every time I go, my dentist insists on giving me x-rays and bitewings each time I go. I was wondering how often I needed these? My dentist also wants me to get fluoride treatments, but I thought only kids needed those. Do I still need them? I’m on a tight budget and only want to get what is absolutely necessary.

Hannah, from Leeds, United Kingdom

 

Hi Hannah,

There is no negative affect for receiving fluoride treatments as an adult. However if you have had porcelain work done to your teeth, you should be wary of using acidulated fluoride. This strong type of fluoride can damage your veneers or crowns, and make your teeth more susceptible to staining. Be sure to inform your hygienist of any work you’ve had done prior to your cleaning.

Your dentist would recommend these treatments for you if your teeth are in an advanced state of decay. You are correct, mostly children receive fluoride treatments until the age of 14, but some continue longer.

The ADA guidelines recommend a full-mouth x-ray every that show the roots every one to five years. You need bitewings (a set of two to four x-rays taken while you bite down on some film) at least once a year.

Your dentist may have recommended additional x-rays if your teeth have advanced stages of decay. If not, then you can ask your dentist to follow the ADA guidelines. Receiving fewer x-rays will save you some money.

This blog post is brought to you by affordable Scottsdale dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck, of Peck Family Dentistry.

What should I know before getting Lumineers?

I’m thinking about getting Lumineers. I’ve seen them advertised and they always look great. Are they too good to be true? I’m wondering if there is anything I should know prior to making an appointment.

Thank you,
Becky

Dear Becky,
You made a smart choice by asking about Lumineers. Before you commit to the procedure, keep these four pieces of information in mind.

  1. “Lumineers” is a general concept that has been given a branded name. To give you the back story, DenMat is the company that makes Lumineers and claims to be the first to create these veneers. While some may argue this, they were certainly the first to market the product well. But, there are dozens of companies that now make these veneers, some of which are labs which do not use any kind of branded trade name.
  2. The thin veneers may or may not be the right option for you.  One of the main advantages to these veneers is that they are able to be placed with a little adjustment to your tooth’s natural structure. However, sometimes the veneers are not thick enough to make an even smile, while other times, they’re too thick and awkward. Be sure to speak to a cosmetic dentist to see what will best fit your needs.
  3. A dentist’s skills are more important than the brand. Not only did the company that makes Lumineers market to patients, but they also marketed to general dentists, as a way to include cosmetic dentistry in their practice. This is a great feature for those dentists naturally gifted in aesthetics but gives false confidence to those who are not. The majority of dentists need extensive training to produce cosmetically beautiful results, but many may elect to pass on this training. This results in the use of this method without the proper training, yielding bulky teeth that do not look natural.
  4. Searching for a skilled cosmetic dentist will get better results than searching for a procedure. Like any profession, dentists have different strengths and weaknesses. Some are skilled more for crowns and oral surgery, while you should see different dentists for overcoming dental fear or to get a smile makeover. For the best results, search for a dentist who has devoted a great deal of time to become a skilled cosmetic dentist. Check the doctor’s credentials and extra training. Look at his or her smile gallery. Read reviews.

Best of luck to you!

This blog is sponsored by the office of Phoenix Lumineers provider, Dr. Hillary Peck.

Dentist “Bait and Switched” Me with Prices

I had was diagnosed with a cavity two months ago. They said it was small enough we could just watch it for now because I told them I didn’t have much money. But, a few days ago it started hurting. Because I already knew the problem I just called around to a few dentists who advertised as affordable to see what their prices were. This one dentist was significantly cheaper than the rest so I booked with him. Then, when I get there he says the decay is too extensive and he’ll have to do a crown. That is way more money than I’d planned for. I left without having the work done. Should I get a second opinion? Do you think I’m being bait and switched?

Bruce

Dear Bruce,

Dollar sign hatched from an egg
Cheap does not always equal affordable.

There are a few things going on here. First, is financial. You need an affordable dentist who’s willing to work with you on payments. But, you’re making a common mistake in equating affordable with cheap. There are good dentists who find ways to be affordable but probably aren’t the cheapest. Then, there are dentists who quote cheap prices, but end up costing you more money because either their skill or the quality of their materials are sub-par.

It’s also possible, the dentist wasn’t trying to pull one over on you. The original diagnosis was a couple of months ago. That, combined with the fact that the tooth starting hurting, tells me the decay has spread. Once decay gets to a certain point a filling isn’t enough and a crown becomes necessary. If it blows up into an infection, you’ll need a root canal treatment as well.

Get a Second Opinion from Another Affordable Dentist

It’s okay to trust your gut. If you truly feel like this guy was trying to pull one over on you then you should get a second opinion. You can bring your x-rays from your previous appointment for the second dentist to examine which will save you on additional x-rays.

Remember, cheap doesn’t mean affordable. Look for dentists who offer payment plans and phased treatment options. But, check their reviews to make sure they have a good reputation.

This blog is brought to you by Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.

Dentist Hates Lumineers

I’ve been saving for Lumineers for ages. Now that I’ve finally got the money, my dentist doesn’t want to place them. He said Lumineers will make my smile look bulky. I picked those because he won’t have to grind my teeth down and now he wants to grind my teeth. Should I let him or go to a different dentist who’ll do what I want?

Marcy

Dear Marcy,

An advertisement for Lumineers

The thing Lumineers is best at is marketing. They’ve pushed their no-prep line so far that patients are afraid to have another brand of porcelain veneers. Truthfully, all Lumineers are is a brand. They’re not even the best brand.

While some patients look fine without any tooth preparation at all, most end up with a bulky looking smile. Some have described it as having horse teeth. That’s probably not the look you’re going for.

The type of tooth preparation needed for porcelain veneers doesn’t actually grind down your teeth. That’s only necessary for porcelain crowns. Because porcelain crowns cover your entire tooth, including the back and sides, a large amount of tooth structure has to be removed to make room for it.

Porcelain veneers are different. They are very thin and only go on the front of your tooth. For those who need tooth preparation, the dentist only needs to remove only about the depth of a fingernail. You can’t even tell that much has been removed.

Getting a Gorgeous Smile Makeover with Lumineers

Not many expert cosmetic dentists like the Lumineers brand. A lot of that has more to do with the company’s insistence that dentists use their lab. Their lab doesn’t have the best track record for creating gorgeous results.

You don’t want it to look like you’ve got veneers on. You want it to look like you have a naturally gorgeous smile. Because your dentist is warning you that you’ll end up with bulky results, I would say he’s trying to look out for you and give you the best smile possible.

You can insist he give you the Lumineers, sans tooth prep. He may relent and do it. But, I think you’ll regret that decision in the end.

Why don’t you try this? Tell him to go ahead with the brand of porcelain veneers he wants, but you want to see them on with a try-in paste before he permanently bonds them. If you don’t like them, then he has to do the brand you want.

He’ll probably be more willing to do that.

Also, remember, you don’t have to have them placed on your upper and lower arches. Make sure you just whiten the lower arch to match the color of the upper arch. That saves patients a ton of money.

This blog is brought to you by Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.