I’m 31, and had my first bad experience at the dentist this past week.
I was 2 hours laying in the chair flat on my back for a crown and 3 fillings. Opted for the gas. I didn’t feel like it did much, but whatever. Here’s what went wrong.
During this visit the dentist nicked the outside of my upper lip with a utensil which caused me to bleed a little because he kept puting his finger on it.
Then a drop of some kind of chemical splashed out of my mouth and into my right eye. (It burned quite a bit. I also wear contacts.) I thought maybe it might have been an antiseptic of some kind.
And then after all that he is drilling on one of my back molars and slips off the tooth into the left under side of my tongue. Both him and his assistant jumped and gasped when it happened and I also jumped saying “Well I felt THAT!”
He never once apologized for any of it and when I told him I was in a lot of pain a couple of days later because of the drill slipping off of my tooth into the bottom of my tongue he denied he did anything and said a lot of patients bite their tongue when they are numb. I have a picture of the cut under my tongue and a voicemail of him calling after the dental work was done to check on me since I had had “A lot of dental work done.”
I only wanted an apology and maybe some sort of a discount since this was such an unpleasant experience. What do you think is fair in this situation? I would really appreciate your input. Thanks,
– Stephanie from Arkansas
Well, it sounds like you certainly deserve an apology, but it doesn’t look like you’re going to get it, or get a discount. It sounds like he is in a defensive posture and not admitting anything you’re saying. So you’re going to be in a position where you will have to force the issue or just accept the outcome. And I don’t think you’d be able to demonstrate damages enough to make a lawsuit worthwhile, so I think the best thing for you to do is just put it behind you and find another dentist.
My recommendation would be to find a dentist who offers sedation dentistry. From what you are telling me, I’m just reading between the lines and it’s just a guess that maybe you were moving around a lot. If these types of dental accidents were habitual with this dentist, I think he would have a hard time keeping patients. So that’s part of what I’m using as reason for my wondering if you were a little jumpy in the chair. Plus the nature of these dental accidents are things you would expect with a jumpy dental patient. And you said that the nitrous oxide gas didn’t do much for you, which implies that you were uncomfortable during the procedure. Just look up “sedation dentist” for your city on Google, see what you find, and call a few offices to see what they could do for you.
– Dr. Hall
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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.