I saw a local dentist about three months ago because one of my molars broke. It was one of those watch-and-see deals. My former dentist said the amalgam filling I had there was old and would probably cause problems for me at some point, so I wasn’t overly surprised when it went. However, I had fallen out of routine with him and I was honestly a little embarrassed, so I booked the exam for that tooth with someone new.
In any case, it’s been a mess since the very beginning. The temporary crown they fitted me with came off just about every day until they gave up on it and told me to leave it off and “baby it” until my permanent one was ready. When I got this one, it was wrong from the beginning too. It NEVER felt right. I told them that and they said I just needed time to get used to it. It also didn’t match my other teeth. It’s a very bright white. I pointed that out as well and the dentist told me he could have the lab remake it but that it would be at cost. Well, since it’s a back tooth nobody but me is going to see, I decided to let that part be.
But, about three weeks after it was “permanently” cemented, it came off. I wasn’t even doing anything. It literally fell off while I was sitting at my desk at work. I went back and they put it on. AGAIN, it didn’t feel right and AGAIN, they told me I’d get used to it. Well, just yesterday it came off again. The dentist put it back on but he also told me that if it comes off again, the lab will have to make a whole new crown and he wants something like $600 to cover the cost. Needless to say, the crown STILL does not feel right and I think I’m on borrowed time.
This doesn’t make any sense to me. I feel like he’s in the wrong here and should fix it at his expense, but at the same time, I don’t feel good going back to him. What are my options?
Yikes! That’s terrible. He is in the wrong and you deserve better.
The Color Should Have Matched
If the coloring was that far off, it’s pure laziness. It shouldn’t have been that far off to begin with, but even if it was a slight variance, he should have offered to send it back right away. A responsible dentist would have made ensured it was a good match and would have covered the expense if his office was at fault or expected his lab to cover it if they were at fault.
They Should Have Worked with You on the Temporary
It can be difficult to keep temporary crowns on some people, especially if they have a hard bite or do things they shouldn’t with it, like chewing gum. All the same, they shouldn’t have given up on it. Unless there’s more to the story, it’s worrisome that they did. Actually, if they’d paid attention to this, they might have caught the underlying issue with your permanent crown.
There’s No Excuse for Your Permanent Crown to Fall Off
While there are “reasons” crowns fall off, none of them are good excuses, especially at this stage. It sounds more like the tooth wasn’t prepared correctly. Basically, the dentist needs to make the tooth peg-shaped—more cylindrical, like a can of soda—in order to get the best retention. Any angle—where the tooth becomes more of a cone shape—is referred to as “taper.”
If the taper angles upward, like an inverted pyramid where the top of the tooth is wider and the base is narrower, a crown literally cannot go on the tooth.
If the taper angles downward, where the biting surface of the tooth is narrower than the base, the degree of that taper influences how likely it is to fall off.
Chances are, your dentist failed to prepare the tooth properly. That’s why neither the temporary nor the permanent crown will stay in place.
Go to Another Dentist
The dentist who did this crown for you has had ample time to catch his error and correct it and he hasn’t. Moreover, he’s trying to charge you for it. Either return to your regular dentist or visit another dentist to confirm this, but chances are, you’re going to need the tooth re-prepped and a new crown made. If this is correct, the first dentist should refund you or pay the new dentist to do the work properly. Best of luck to you.
This blog is sponsored by Auburn, Alabama dentist Raymond Bolt, DMD.