I don’t have a lot of money but I noticed one of my back teeth had a dark spot. I knew I’d need to find a dentist and take care of this before it got worse and I lost the tooth. I did a search for an affordable dentist and scheduled an appointment. I explained my financial situation was pretty dire as I was unemployed and they agreed I could come in, get treatment, then pay it out for $40.00 per month. The dentist was a bit gruff and I felt like he was jerking my face from side to side. During the process, he tells me the decay is too far and I need a root canal treatment and dental crown. He said he could prepare the tooth while I was there. I didn’t know a lot about dentistry and agreed. While he was doing that, I felt something weird. He swore and told me my tooth is rotten and needs to be extracted. I think he broke it but didn’t want to admit it. But, there was nothing I could do about it. I was disappointed because my whole reason for going while unemployed was to save the tooth. He extracted the tooth and I went home sad. Today, I got a bill. He charged me for both the root canal treatment AND the extraction. I didn’t think I should be charged for both because it was his mistake and he’d already cost me a tooth which I’d’ need to pay for a different replacement on top of everything else. I called and they were rude and said the dentist should get paid for all the work he does. Do I have any recourse?
I can understand your frustration, especially because you have another expense coming up to replace your tooth. This “affordable dentist” is going to cost you quite a bit of extra money. You have a few options. First, if you’ve already explained to the business office and they’re still deaf to your concern you may want to speak to the dentist directly. The business offices’ job is to make sure they get all the money which “should” come to the practice. The dentist may realize this didn’t go well and agree to only charge you the final procedure.
If you feel certain the dentist made a mistake, you could take the x-rays to another dentist to get a second opinion. It may help determine if this was either a mistake on the dentist’s part and there wasn’t much decay or maybe that the decay was so far along that it was obvious the tooth couldn’t be saved from the beginning, meaning the root canal was totally unnecessary. In either case, you should only have to pay for one procedure
Another option would be to work through the Better Business Bureau or the Dental Board to try to get recourse. Just don’t put off dealing with it. Some dentists will send you to collections, which could negatively impact your credit.
Finding Affordable Dentists Who are Skilled
I don’t know if in your case this would have helped, but one additional step I always recommend people do before visiting any type of medical practitioner is to see if they have any reviews about their practice online.
Most people write reviews when they’ve either had incredible service that’s so surprising they feel other people have to know, or the opposite. They’ve had such a horrible experience and are so angry they want the world to know what a terrible dentist they’ve just been to see.
Regardless of motives, reviews give you some additional information.
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