Friday, October 12, 2012

Bad Crowns

Happy Friday. I forgot to mention the Gators in my last blog. I have a bit of a bounce in my step this week because we beat the #4 team in the country. I was in the third row on the 40-yard line for that game. What a great atmosphere. But what is even going to be better is if South Carolina and the Gators can take care of business this weekend: then next weekend will be Battle Royale in the swamp. I already have my tickets to that #3 against #4 game. And basketball media day was Wednesday. Oh my gosh, I am so excited about basketball!

I want to talk to you about something important. I don't know if you know this or not, but I have been the blogger for The Daily Grind for almost four years. I told the AGD that I will be retiring from blogging at the end of the year. I have a lot of irons in the fire right now. Most of the time, I am going crazy trying to get everything done. As the new 100% owner of my practice and trying to get this speaking thing off the ground, I feel like it is time.

I am totally going to miss it. It has been a huge part of my life for a long time. I don't know if I will continue to blog, but I just can't commit right now. It has been four years and about probably close to 600 blog posts. Wow. My fingers hurt just thinking about it. The AGD promises some new and exciting writers for The Daily Grind.

Today's topic is bad crowns. In the last two weeks, I have had the same thing happen twice. One was an old patient that decided to go somewhere else to have an implant restored. I don't know why. But when the implant crown came off after 3 months, she decided to come back. The other was a new patient that was unhappy with an anterior crown that was done just a few months back.

The old patient had an implant on #30 restored and it was a mess. The implant was great but the abutment was too small. There was plenty of room but the abutment was taken down too low. The crown looked like a tabletop with no anatomy. I told the patient that I could put this back in but it wasn't going to stay. I told her that she really needs a new abutment and a new crown.

She has insurance but, as you know, the insurance is not going to pay for a new abutment and a new crown. I told her that I felt bad for her and I might discount the stuff a little bit, but it is going to cost her about $1,500. I am not upset that she went somewhere else, but I am still a little shocked sometimes when I see crap dentistry like this. But what am I supposed to do? It is what it is.

I told her I am not going to get involved, but if someone wrote me a letter and told me that something I did failed and was going to have be done over, I would give them their money back. Now, between you and me, I don't know the scruples of the other dentist but to do substandard work tells me a little about this guy. If I were to get this letter, I wouldn't be concerned about someone suing me or anything because my stuff is good. But I would think that someone is doing this kind of work may fear some legal ramification. This letter would maybe make them want to write a check for it to go away.

The second woman came in unhappy with the new crown she got on #8. She has veneers that are about 10 years old One of them broke and a dentist redid this one to match the others. I am not saying this is easy; I know it isn't. But this tooth looks like a Chiclet next to her other teeth. If I was her, I would be unhappy too. I told that I would need to redo this tooth to make it look like the others. What else could I do?

She has the same issue with her insurance. I told both of these patients that they could go back to the dentist who did the work; neither of them wanted to. It looks like both of them are going to pay me (without insurance) to redo some very new work. This just baffles me. If I paid $1,000 for something and it wasn't right, you can be sure I would go back there and get it done right. I do understand losing confidence in someone. But the first one went to another dentist to save money (I am assuming), and now she is back and going to pay twice. If she has the money, why didn't she just come here in the first place?

When I do something, I am my own worst critic. I send stuff back to the lab even after my patient says they love it. I will not stop until everyone is happy. If we are both happy and a couple of weeks later they come back and say they don't like something, I fix it. And if that means doing it again, so be it.

Do you guys get this? I would think that in these hard economic times, people wouldn't be throwing money around like this. Do you just tell them like it is? "Sorry, but it is going to cost you $1,200 to fix." I don't know. Maybe I am trying to save the face of dentistry or to uphold our reputation as a whole.

Hey, have a great weekend.


Go Gators.


Lilya said...

This happens all the time where I work. Most people do not understand the value of quality dentistry until they get some bad work done. At least they learn an important lesson. Too bad you are leaving the blog I really enjoy your posts!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately you are stuck in between. It is not your fault the crowns were done in that way. It is not your financial responsibility. The patient will justify their choice and no matter what the other guy did or did not do. So don't worry about that. You will be the bad guy for wanting to redo something that was just done, so you might as well get paid for it. If you don' t redo do it then you are negligent.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear that you are hanging up your keyboard! Your "retirement" will be a sad day in the blogosphere. Your posts are always well-written and interesting and are frequently instructive and/or entertaining. Please don't disappear entirely! There are way too many people who want to know how your story turns out and who wish you well. Anne


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