Went to an affordable dentist for a root canal and ended up with a tooth extraction

This past June I selected an affordable dentist to take care of a horrible toothache that was literally making me sick. My face was swollen, I was nauseated, and nothing worked to get rid of a constant headache caused by the tooth. I first called my regular dentist but I couldn’t afford the out of pocket costs to get them to take care of the tooth. So I opted for a dentist with lower fees. I checked out his website and a saw several decent patient reviews.

After my first appointment I was scheduled for a root canal 2 days later. The pain during and after the procedure was horrible. I told the dentist that my tooth hurt worse than before the root canal. He told me it was because he had to go so deeply into the tooth to remove the decay. 2 weeks later, my tooth was still hurting bad. It was only slightly better than before. I went back to the dentist and he told me that the root canal didn’t take and he needed to do another one. During the procedure I heard my tooth crack. The dentist grunted and his assistant sighed. Then he told me that the tooth needed to be extracted. What else could I do but agree to the extraction? I wish I had let my regular dentist do the work and now I’m too embarrassed to go back there.

Since that appointment, I’ve been going back and forth with the dentist’s office about the bills for the second root canal and the tooth extraction. I think they are crazy. I’ve been talking to my dental insurance company about the bills, and I’m starting to think that I might need a consumer protection attorney. Why should I be responsible for both procedures? What can I do to get this dental office to back off and be reasonable? Eddie

Eddie,

We agree that you shouldn’t be billed for a second root canal treatment, as well as the tooth extraction. Without examining your dental x-rays, it’s difficult to say whether or not the cracked tooth and extraction could have been avoided.

The issue is probably not worth the time, expense, and anxiety of legal proceedings. We have a few suggestions:

  • Ask to speak directly with the dentist. Let him know why you think you shouldn’t be billed for both procedures. Stay calm and speak respectfully.
  • If you have found a new dentist, ask him or her to contact your previous dentist and ask for a reasonable solution.
  • Ask for help from your local dental board or the Better Business Bureau.
  • Without filing a legal claim, ask a consumer protection attorney to contact the dental office and find out if they are willing to negotiate on the bill.

Try to resolve the issue before the dental office submits it to a collection agency.

If you haven’t already found a reliable, affordable dentist, you should do so to discuss the options for replacing the tooth that was extracted. It should be replaced to prevent other teeth from shifting and to prevent bone shrinkage at the extraction site.

 

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Will sedation dentistry work if I’m already on anti-anxiety meds?

Will sedation dentistry work if I’m already on anti-anxiety meds? I also take an anti-depressant. The thought of needing 2 root canals is making me very nervous. My concern is that the medication I’m already taking will cancel out the sedation drugs. I’m also concerned about interactions. Each day my teeth are really getting uncomfortable so I know I’m going to have to act soon. If I can’t get sedation I’m not sure I could make it through the appointment. What would a dentist do in my case? Thanks. Rody

Rody – The medication a dentist selects for sedation during dental treatment is based on several factors, including:

  • His or her treatment philosophy
  • Experience using the drug
  • A patient’s medical history
  • The dental procedure

Sedation dentists who regularly treat anxious patients know how to assist those who have general anxiety and already take some form of anti-anxiety medication.

Remember to provide your dentist with a complete list of your medications, the dosage, and how often you take them. The information you provide will prevent negative drug interactions. It will also help the dentist determine which anti-anxiety medication to use. There are a variety of options to help you relax during dental treatment.

You can also contact the dental office and ask if you can fax or e-mail the list of your medications before your consultation. It will give the dentist time to review it and provide you with an idea of which medications can be used during dental treatment.

Whenever necessary, your dentist will be willing to work with your primary care doctor and your pharmacist to select sedation medication that will be effective during your dental procedure.

This post is sponsored by Plano female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy. Dr. Lacy’s office is convenient to Addison, Allen, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Frisco, Garland, Highland Park, and Little Elm.

Free teeth whitening made blotchy spots on my teeth

I went to a teeth whitening kiosk in June just to check it out. I spoke with a lady there who told me about the costs, how long it would take, and how my teeth would look when I finished all of the treatments. There was a certificate posted on the kiosk, and the lady there said that all of the reps at the kiosk are certified teeth-whitening specialists. I was told that I needed 8 sessions and the first 2 would be free. I signed up for the whitening. Unfortunately, I was able to only go the first 2 times. Within 15 minutes my teeth and gums got really sensitive. My gums are white in spots from the burns. This happened both times I went to the kiosk. I guess I should have stopped the treatment after the first time. Now my teeth have white spots all over them too. I called the kiosk and was told that the color would even out in about a week. That was three weeks ago. Nothing has changed. I’m embarrassed to schedule an appointment with my regular dentist. She offered me teeth whitening but I declined because of the cost. Are my teeth ruined? Thanks. Bailey

Bailey – Your teeth aren’t ruined. Anyone who wants their teeth properly whitened should be cautious about offers of free teeth whitening, unless it is offered by a dentist. There are several things to consider:

  • The American Dental Association doesn’t accept, endorse, or regulate any role as a “certified teeth whitening specialist.” The term likely originated with the company that owns the teeth whitening kiosk. Only an official company representative can tell you what their certification process involves.
  • Before your teeth are whitened, a dentist will examine your teeth and gums to ensure they are healthy.
  • A dentist will also determine if bleaching gel will be effective on your teeth or if it will make the stains worse.
  • During professional whitening, your gums should be protected to prevent them from burning.
  • A dentist monitors the effectiveness of whitening sessions and makes adjustments as needed.

The discoloration that resulted from your teeth whitening needs the attention of a dentist—particularly since the color hasn’t stabilized. Your dentist can determine the cause of the discoloration and how it should be remedied.

There are dentists who provide their patients with free teeth whitening, as long as appointments for regular exams and dental cleanings are kept. If this option isn’t offered by your dentist, you can consider finding a dentist who offers free or discounted whitening.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.