Should my dentist give me my money back? Refunds

I always encourage patients to seek out a second opinion during these instances to help weed out the truth. If your dentist objects at this, this is a signal for you to switch dentists. A secure and confident dentist will encourage a second opinion as it serves to confirm his or her diagnosis and make the patient more confident.

Updated on
Should my dentist give me my money back? Refunds
Q:

Dr. B, I had a filling done recently on a bottom molar. After a couple of days I noticed that when biting on food, I felt a sharp pain sensation. I went back to the dentist and then she said I may need a root canal. I have already paid for the filling on the molar, should I be compensated for that cost because now I have to pay for a whole new procedure for a root canal. The filling for the bottom molar cost me around $200 and the root canal with crown is going to cost me around $1200. Should the $200 be credited towards my root canal since she didn't perform the right procedure initially?

A: Aaron, This is a tough question to answer. There are two ways to look at it. First, many times it is best to start conservatively and do the filling first because if that is the solution, it’s way cheaper, simpler, and less involved than doing a root canal. But if the solution for the tooth was a root canal to begin with, then it makes sense for a credit to be given.

Teeth often give erroneous symptoms which can mislead the dentist, and event the patient. Many times it’s difficult to even locate the tooth that is symptomatic. Teeth can take up to 10 years to suffer pulpal death, and frequently it will not be clear what the status of the tooth is. It’s best to start off slowly and conservatively if unsure of the diagnosis. This may cost you more if you’re too conservative with treatment, but many times it will cost you less if the dentist and patient to do not overreact with treatment. If there was good reason to do the filling at the time, but now a root canal is needed, it may be fair to charge for the filling.

However, if the filling was not the correct treatment, get your 200 dollars back, and find another dentist. I always encourage patients to seek out a second opinion during these instances to help weed out the truth. If your dentist objects at this, this is a signal for you to switch dentists. A secure and confident dentist will encourage a second opinion as it serves to confirm his or her diagnosis and make the patient more confident.

Bottom line: Tomorrow, call a respected endodontist (root canal specialist), don’t mention names, stick to the facts, have him or her take an x-ray, and ask if your tooth needs a root canal and why. Chances are, you will find that the dentist responded appropriately at the time. My policy is that no treatment can proceed unless the patient is fully informed as to the reasons for planned treatment. The more informed a patient is, the greater the chance of a successful diagnosis.

Get that second opinion, then discuss the results with your dentist. This will resolve the issue and help get the tooth fixed once and for all and for a fair price.

Mark Burhenne DDS

Read Next: Little Known Ways to Make Sure You Never Get Ripped Off at the Dentist

Become a VIP (for free!)

What you’ll get:
  • VIP newsletter with special deals & bonuses
  • Insider Secrets Guide: 10 things your dentist isn’t telling you

8 Comments

Leave a Comment

  1. I went to the dentist to be told i needed some work done. I went ahead and pre paid i think around 700-900 dollars. I had 2 fillings done out of 6 but the third one while drilling broke and was told i needed a root canal. I dont have 2500 for it so they put a temp in and said i could have it pulled but that was 4 months ago and the temp works just fine. Since then i know i am not going back to them due to the fact they did not have the guy that does the root canals look at my xrays first which he could have told them i needed the root canal like he did when he walked in to take a look at the damage. I thought to myself before beginng the work why did they not have him check the xrays to tell them that was needed before they broke the wall of my tooth?

    The thing is i have a cleaning scheduled tomorrow and want to call and cancel and ask for my money back since i wont be going back to them but i know they will tell me that wont happen. Do i tell them that i have moved and wont be coming back so a refund is needed? thanks

  2. I was going to get a crown by a dentist on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, and paid $1,278.00 prior to receiving the crown. During my consultation with the dentist, I stated my gum was still a little sore from the root canal I had Tuesday, prior. The DA reschedule me for Thursday, April 25, 2013. Her receptionist contacted me later that same day and stated the dentist decided not to do the crown, and wanted to put the $1,278.00 in full back on my card. As of yet, I have not received my funds. Should I call the office back and find out why? I have already called my bank. There are not pending credit items.

  3. Debra Smith says:

    I got my inplantes A year ago.my botton screw has ripped through my gums and came out. Do I have a case? I payed $4,200 for permanent implants thank you

  4. I had painful crowns for my two front teeth over 15 years. I finally had enough and had them replaced. It was suggested to me that I have my 6 front teeth replaced so that they flow together correctly and look better. I decided to do so. I explained to the dentist that the teeth were far too large and stuck forwards too much (looked like chiclets.) I was extremely clear as for what I wanted and after the first appointment to have them grinded down I was given an amazing pair of temporaries. Exactly what I wanted. I went back a week later for a few more impressions and ended up having a 3 hour appointment with lazer gum surgery that was not discussed at all. After having another pair of temporaries put on that were exact copies of my original teeth I began to get very down about all of it but I told myself “they’re only temporaries.” Two weeks pass and I go in for my permanents. The teeth they game me looked good (I didn’t have a reference to go by, but they looked better than what I had.) After they were put in I was immediately upset. Instead of having 2 overly large front top teeth I now had 6. Now i’m down 8k and very unhappy about this all. I don’t know where to go from here. I have spoken to the dentist and expressed how unhappy I am, but I don’t know if I am deserving of a refund (even for only the teeth.) I would be more than happy to have them simply filed down but the issue is that they are too far forwards (they push my bottom lip way out). What do you think?

  5. Sheila Neville says:

    1. The dentist took temporary impressions of my gums and teeth.
    2. I paid 1700.00 for the total cost
    3. The final impressions had never been created.
    4. I asked for half the money back
    5. He said no, come back to him.
    6. I went to a dentist that understood that I landed in the hospital for 3 months because of my gums.
    7. He did not send me the temporary impressions.

  6. Michael James says:

    Hi! My name is Mike and I had some fillings done since June of 2017 on my right site (both 2 molars on top & bottom). Since then, I have not been able to eat anything chewy, hard, crunchy, or mostly anything that needs chewing for that matter. I have been going back there for adjustments since then, and it’s still the same way. When I first got it done, I always had a severe headache every night, and then, they adjusted it and that stopped the headaches. However, until now (03-21-2018), I still cannot eat on it and i have been going there since then till now for adjustments and nothing is better.

    He sent me to an endodontist whom confirmed that I did not need any root canal on either teeth. So then, he kept going with the adjustments, after no resolution, he decided that he does not agree with that endodontist and wants to send me to a another one now. Keep in mind that I had the same issue with a previous dentist when I did my left side and I thought the dentist was the issue. After about 3 adjustments with no solution, the previous dentist just redid the fillings and then I was good. But this dentist waited 10 months to now tell me that he can’t help me anymore, and I have a new job so I won’t have insurance for the next 90 days. They keep telling me that I have a unique bite that’s so hard to fix, but I say, the last dentist fixed it in a month and they still can’t figure it out in 10 months and counting.

    So should I ask them for my money back, or should I go to that other endodontist that they want to send me to because i feel like they just want a YES I need a root canal so they can be done with me? What should I really do? I ask them for a refund and they say they can’t refund me because the work was done but I say the work was also done complete obviously with all these pains that I have. I really can’t waiting another 90 days using one site of my mouth for over a year and it’s been hurting like I have overused it. Can I press charges so they can either refund me or pay for my root canal since I don’t have insurance anymore?

  7. Lori zontini says:

    I got in car wreck not my fault waited for 4 years for money only to find out she didn’t hav enough to put me back together. This was 2013. Now 2919, I had straight bueatful teeth, no help lost two front in wreck then one by one pull pull etc etc only coverage . By time got money, missed daughters pic at her we’d two butchers for dentists only three on top 7 on bottom paid for two sets of teeth can’t eat lost 15 # ant out of money tinkles look 80 depressed haven’t kissed Husain in 6 years. And 7000 paid lost 2 more teeth still have no front teeth won’t stay in then they cancel me looked over bills over charged me 300 5 years ins says teeth are not healthy enough to do anything

    • Mark Burhenne, DDS says:

      Oh, Lori! I am so sorry to hear the ordeal you’ve been through.

Leave a Reply