I can’t believe I’m in this position! My dental implants are coming off already. I spent over $35,000 on a full-mouth reconstruction that included porcelain veneers and several dental implants. Both the porcelain veneers and the crowns on the implants are in terrible shape. They are starting to come off. Now, I am looking in the mirror at exposed screws and gaps in my mouth. This is infuriating at this point. I can’t eat foods normally and talking even hurts. I have blood in my mouth and it is so uncomfortable. I don’t know what I should do.
When I tried to contact the implant dentist, they told me he is out of the country. They won’t even let me access my dental records and they aren’t considering a refund. This is a botched case, a complete horror story! Please tell me there is something that can be done.
-Pamela in California
Wow – I wish there was some better news here. But unfortunately, it sounds like you are a victim of a dental implant nightmare. If the dentist did indeed leave the country, then it sure sounds like they are guilty and know that they are in trouble. So, outside the country, there is not much that can be done from a legal perspective, or that can be done about pursuing a refund. I wish I could say this rarely happens, but it happens more than you’d expect. It would be wise to post some negative reviews online so others don’t fall victim to dentists like this and it helps to raise awareness.
At this point, it is time to move on and find a reputable implant dentist in your area who can fix the dental work for you. Let’s focus on how to do that with some tips about finding a new dentist. First, don’t price shop when it comes to dental implants. Cheap dental implants have the potential for failure. Dentists that market implants this way are likely cutting corners or using substandard materials. That doesn’t mean you need to find the most expensive dentist, just be aware that dentists are trying to undercut competition. There are affordable dental implant options, but in your case they will likely not be the right fit.
Implant dentistry is not a recognized field within dentistry. So, unfortunately this puts patients at a disadvantage if they aren’t aware of that. It takes extensive training and experience to be successful with dental implants. But since it’s not a regulated specialty area, any dentist can claim to be an implant dentist. Moving forward, it would be wise to check the dentist’s credentials. If they have a fellowship or diplomate status with either the International Congress of Oral Implantologists or the American Board of Oral Implantology (which is a part of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry) then that is a good sign. The requirements for these dental organizations are strict. Or you can look to see if they have a membership in on of those organizations, that would be good. Or see if they have training from a dental implant program at the collegiate level, or if they reference the Misch Implant Institute. These are all reputable organizations in implant dentistry.
Another red flag is if a dentist offers a diagnosis without doing a three-dimensional or CT scan. There is a plethora of information available to place the implant posts using those tactics. Using the sophisticated imagery will help ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Lastly, be sure to look at their reviews, or talk with patients who have received treatment at their practice. Online you can check Google reviews, or Yelp to see if anyone has had a bad experience.
In closing, you may want to talk with a cosmetic dentist too. You mentioned that you have issues with the crowns and porcelain veneers, so not every implant dentist has that cosmetic dentistry experience as well. So, ask the dentists about that or you can also find a cosmetic dentist to address those issues.
Thank you for sharing your story. Hopefully, at the very least, it will be helpful to others considering dental implants. I hope you find a dentist who will meet your needs and that you have a much better experience when the work is redone.
This post is sponsored by Petaluma dentist Dr. Rick Lane.