I had two teeth extracted for dental implants– number 5 and number 7. I’ve already had the extractions and had the implants placed. The dentist placed Maryland Bridges as a temporary replacement, while the implants sites heal. My problem is two-fold. First, since he’s placed them less than two weeks ago, they have fallen out four times. This has given me considerable doubts about his ability to complete this case well if he can’t even get the temporaries to stay on. It may be necessary for me to switch dentists. Second, I’m not even sure if you can switch dentists in the middle of a procedure. If I am, is it possible to get some of my money back? I’ve paid over $10,000 in full for all of this work so I’m not sure if I’d even be able to afford to switch dentists if I need to shell out even more money.
I agree with you that your current dentist seems in over his head. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, is his choice of a “temporary” replacement. Second, is his lack of understanding of how to place it.
Let’s start with the temporary replacement. A Maryland Bridge attaches the crown to the adjacent teeth with either metal or ceramic wings. This requires structural changes to the adjacent teeth in order to get the bridge to stay. In my mind, anything that permanently changes tooth structure is not a good temporary replacement.
A better option would be a dental flipper. Not only does it NOT affect any of your teeth, but it is also a lot less expensive than your current replacement option.
In order for a Maryland Bridge to stay in place. the wings are etched and the backs of the adjacent teeth are etched. From there a composite bonding material is placed to keep them together. Almost always a small notch has to be made in the tooth to help with retention.
If the bridge falls off, it means there is either a flaw in the design, the technique, or both. Whichever it is needs to be repaired and the metal re-etched by the lab. It doesn’t sound like your dentist knows what the problem with retention is let alone how to resolve it. So, yes, you need a new dentist to finish off your dental implant procedure.
Switching Dentists Mid-Procedure
First, you should know that your dentist is ethically obligated to cooperate with you when you decide to switch dentists. This means he should provide the new dentist all the information, including the diagnostics done in preparation for the procedure.
As for your payment. He will owe you a refund on your bridge as well as the implant crowns. Those haven’t been provided yet. So, this will enable you to afford the remainder of the procedure with the new dentist.
Placing dental implants is a rather advanced procedure and I don’t have much confidence in your current dentist. It may be a good idea for you to have some more diagnostics done for your new dentist to look at the implant placement before the crowns are placed. The dental flipper can be provided immediately.
I don’t know if your dentist mentioned that whatever color your implant crowns are made with is permanent. Because of that, I always recommend patients who are considering teeth whitening get that done before placing the crowns. This way you can match the crowns to the whiter color.
If you wait until after the crowns are made, your teeth will whiten but not the crowns. This will mean you’ll have to replace them to get them to match the rest of your smile. You’ll save money doing any whitening ahead of time.
This blog is brought to you by Sugar Land Dentist Dr. Siny Thomas.