I had an e-mail exchange from one of our visitors. Her name is Robin, and I’m not even going to say the part of the country she is from, because of the sensitive nature of what I did and what I told her. You can read her initial question and my initial response on my post: A $30,000 cosmetic dentistry blunder.
Here’s what she wrote back, which really surprised me:
Thank you so much for responding to my question. I don’t do Facebook, but I would be happy to write a very positive review for you if you will tell me where to do it.
The dentist who did my dental work is actually on your recommended list, although I did not find your site until after the work was completed. I will happily check out your other recommendations. Thank you for taking the time to help me.
After getting this I wrote back to her and asked her to identify the dentist that did her work, she responded to that with the following additional information:
Yes. I want to be fair, so I’ll tell you that I sought a second opinion from a periodontist because [Dr. Unnamed] stated that the brown margins are visible due to gum recession. This did not make sense to me because my gums are in most excellent condition by all accounts. I am told this at every check up. The hygienists tell me with amazement that I have no bleeding and that my home care is excellent. [Dr. Undisclosed], a periodontist, confirmed this as she said “Wow. These are really good numbers.” She also said the veneers fit very well. Yes, I guess they fit well, but they look bulky, opaque and lifeless. I was so disappointed from the moment I first saw them. I don’t want to suggest that [Dr. Unnamed] is an incompetent dentist. He is just not an artist.
I also saw [Dr. Anonymous – another cosmetic dentist we recommend in her state]. His opinion is that I should have them redone, as he thought they look lifeless.
This was my response to that:
Generally, there are a lot of general criteria for whether or not I recommend a specific cosmetic dentist, and those criteria are lumped together, weighed, and I make a judgment call on the ability of the dentist. But there is one absolute, and that is that they have to listen and they can’t seat a case without the patient loving it. [Dr. Unnamed] has a lot of beautiful cases to show off. But an excellent cosmetic dentist will always try in a case and make sure it meets the patient’s expectations, and even if the patient doesn’t really object and the only clue to their dissatisfaction is the tone in their voice, I would expect the dentist to stop right there, find out why the patient is hesitating or not enthusiastic about the work, and send it back to the lab to fix whatever the issue is. If a dentist doesn’t do this, I don’t want to list them. Seating a case in the face of patient misgivings is a big “no-no.” I didn’t want to say this up front for fear you might be alarmed and out of niceness would then not tell me your complete, honest opinion. But I am going to pull his listing. I list these dentists with my personal recommendation, and it’s an embarrassment to me, a stain on my reputation, and a disservice to the patient to not have the dentist measure up to the expectations I create.
About the gum recession and gum disease – recession is one thing and pockets and bleeding are another. You can have very healthy gums with no bleeding and still have recession. There is a way to tell if the upper front teeth are vulnerable to recession, and placing a case where the bone and the gums are healthy but thin can provoke recession if the dentist isn’t extremely careful. So maybe this is what happened if the margins weren’t showing when the case was first placed but they are showing now.
[I’m embarrassed and a little nervous about taking the risk of being so open with our readers, but at the same time I wanted to let you know that I take seriously the responsibility of recommending the dentists I recommend. I made a mistake in listing this particular dentist and I feel bad about it. But this sort of thing hasn’t happened before, and hopefully it won’t happen again.]
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.
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