I recently had an implant bridge place, using two dental implants to secure the bridge. This was all done to replace four bottom teeth on my right side. But, I have to say, I’m really not happy with the way it feels. Oddly, my bottom and top teeth don’t line up on the left side anymore.
I have a follow-up appointment with the surgeon in a couple weeks. He has managed things for the most part, so I am hoping for some answers then. But in the meantime, I wanted to reach out to get your feedback to see if this can be fixed? I really want to move on and put this all behind me, but it just doesn’t seem right.
If something is wrong after my appointment, can I get a second opinion or a refund if I’m not happy with how they turned out? I know that is a lot of questions but I want to have an idea of what my options are before I go back in to the surgeon.
-Carla in California
Thank you for reaching out. There is a problem with your implant bridge. All of your teeth should come together at the same time when your mouth closes, which indicates something isn’t right. It needs to be addressed because if it is left untreated, then there is potential for TMJ disorder. When the teeth don’t come together correctly, it can throw off your bite and cause pain in your jaw, headaches and other issues.
Implant dentistry is not a regulated area of dentistry and sadly it is a leading area of dental malpractice. Since it isn’t a recognized specialty area, any dentist can say they are an implant dentist without the proper training or experience. Many may not mean any harm and think they can handle it, but they just don’t have the extensive training that is required to be successful with dental implants.
At this point, it would be in your best interest to have another dentist take an independent look at what is going on. Something that would be helpful as you are on the hunt for the best implant dentist in your area is to find a dentist with credentials from either or both of these prestigious organizations – the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI) or the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID). If an implant dentist has extensive experience and an affiliation as either a fellow or diplomat with these organizations than that is a strong indicator that they will be successful in placing dental implants.
As for the problem and where things went wrong, it is always difficult to diagnose or make specific recommendations without having seen your case in person. However, it sounds like the dental implant posts were likely placed in the wrong position. This may mean that the surgeon is at fault.
Many times, multiple dentists are involved with the dental implant process. For example, one dentist may do the surgery or bone grafting if it’s required, and another will end up placing the restorations. Miscommunication is possible whenever there is more than one dentist involved. Typically, the dentist who places the restoration should be using a surgical guide of some sort that fits your mouth and is placed in the exact positioning where the implant should be placed. But, that’s not always the case.
That doesn’t change anything about where you are now. Of course, you are frustrated and want it to be right, and it should be done correctly. It is not out of the realm of possibilities that you should ask for a refund. The original dentist may want to redo the work. However, it is understandable if you aren’t convinced of his experience and ability to fix it at this point. Ethically speaking, the dental implants need to function correctly. The dentist who placed the restorations should have been more involved from the sounds of it. He should have examined your case and offered input on the exact placement of the implants, and it doesn’t sound like that important step took place.
It is time to get a second opinion from a reputable dentist from one of the organizations listed earlier, the ICOI and AAID. And if the new implant dentist agrees that the location of the implants needs to be redone, then it sounds like it is within your rights to ask for a refund or have the dentist pay the difference in fees to have the problem fixed by the new dentist.
Hopefully you don’t need to pursue legal action. However, there should be some liability placed on the dentist that did the work to get it right in the first place.
Good luck as you get this figured out. Also, thank you again for explaining your problem because hopefully it helps others that are considering dental implants.
This post is sponsored by Petaluma dentist Dr. Rick Lane.