We had some cosmetic issues we wanted to fix with my daughters teeth. They weren’t huge issues, but they really bothered her. I want her to have a good self image, so I talked to my dentist about it, who advertises as a cosmetic dentist. He said Lumineers would be perfect for my daughter Naia. He also told us that we would get to see them on before they were bonded on permanently. He said she could see them in different types of lights and that she could show them to others. None of that was true. One of the things we were wanting to fix were some small gaps in her teeth. We thought about doing bonding, but he said this would be more permanent. When he put in the temporary ones, we didn’t get to look at it any of the ways he said we would ahead of time. There were no different lights, no getting up to show them to others. Just sitting in the dental chair and looking in a hand mirror. Yet even with that limited way of looking at them we knew we didn’t like them. It did fix her gaps, but the Lumineers were so bulky she looked ridiculous. We asked if he could make them a little more reasonable in size, but he insisted they were great. He said if we “lived with them” for a week or so we realize how nice they were. We agreed to try. She was teased unmercifully in school about them. She came home feeling worse about her smile than ever. It turns out my dentist wasn’t a cosmetic dentist, just a general dentist. Is there a way I can get a refund and then go to a real cosmetic dentist?
Azida A.- Tulsa, OK
I think you can probably get at least some of your money back if this is handled correctly, but first I want to clear up a common misunderstanding. There is no recognized specialty is cosmetic dentistry. So every cosmetic dentist is actually a general dentist. What sets apart a dentist as an expert cosmetic dentist is the amount of training they have and artistry they’ve developed. I would not consider your dentist an expert cosmetic dentist for several reasons.
First, cosmetic dentists know that Lumineers tend to appear bulkier than other brands of porcelain veneers, because they are advertised as a no-prep veneer. Most teeth will need some form of preparation to keep that from happening. Secondly, a true cosmetic dentist won’t try to convince you that the porcelain veneers look great. If you don’t like them, they wouldn’t be satisfied either. Period.
Here is what I recommend. Don’t let him do any more work. You know you’re wanting to get a refund and go elsewhere so it is only fair you don’t use anymore of his time. Next, talk to him about how unhappy you are with how things have gone. Let him know that you weren’t given the procedure you were promised. Also be sure to let him know everything your daughter went through with school as a result of his work. Be upfront with him about your desire to get a refund and be done with this procedure. That may work on its own.
If not, and you need to enlist some help, go to the mynewsmile.com website and find one of their recommended cosmetic dentists in Oklahoma. Don’t go to another one in Tulsa, but another nearby city. Dentists don’t like to go up against their peers because they have to deal with them on a regular basis. It will be easier to get one from another area. Have him look at the cosmetic dental work and give his opinion.
Generally the standard for refunds on poor dental work is that it is has to be non-functional. That makes it hard to get a refund on poorly done cosmetic work. Ugly doesn’t mean non-functional. However, in this case, your dentist didn’t keep his agreement. You were told your daughter would get to see it in several lights before you agreed on the final bonding and that didn’t happen. With another dentist backing up your claim that the work is poor, you have a chance.
Hopefully, others will learn from your experience to check the qualifications of cosmetic dentists ahead of time. Two of the best ways are seeing if they are accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) and if they’re recommended on the mynewsmile.com website.
This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.