About 7 years ago, I got a partial denture from my dentist that was excellent in quality. I know what lab he ordered it from, so this time I decided to order it myself directly from the lab. I requested the partial in January, and since that time, I’ve had so many complications. I’m beginning to wish that I just replaced my tooth with a dental implant. I was trying to save time and money. The partial denture replaces a front tooth, but it’s is loose and won’t stay fastened to the tooth to the left of the missing one. I can feel the partial rocking. I think there is too much plastic backing on it.
Of course, I returned to the lab to get it corrected. A lab tech ground down a tooth to try to improve my bite, but the clasp on the partial is on that same tooth, which is too small to hold the clasp. The denture plate is too short, and it is irritating the area where my tooth is missing. I’ve returned to the lab five times for this issue. During the last visit, the office manager told me that they would give me a 15% refund if I agreed not to return. I’m ashamed to see my dentist about this issue. I don’t want a 15% refund. I want all my money back. What are my options? – Thanks. Lennox from GA
We understand why you want a refund. But we don’t fully understand your description of the problems you’re having with your bite and discomfort from the plate of the partial denture. Dr. Brooksher would need to examine your partial denture to determine everything that’s causing your discomfort. But there are some issues we will address.
When a Partial Denture Rocks
What causes instability and rocking in a partial denture?
- The rocking you describe results from a distorted framework in the partial denture.
- If a dentist or lab tech doesn’t take impressions of your teeth and mouth correctly, the framework, which uses those impressions as a model, won’t fit.
- A dentist—not a lab tech—has the experience and training to take accurate impressions that replicate your teeth and oral anatomy. Impressions from your dentist help the lab tech make a precise framework for your partial denture. Lab techs are not trained to take impressions, and it’s illegal for them to do so.
How to Get Your Money Back from a Poor-Fitting Partial Denture
The lab tech should not have taken the dental impressions for your partial denture. The solution?
Threaten to report the tech to the state dental board. It may seem unfair to report the lab tech to the dental board because you asked him to make a partial denture and bypassed your dentist. But the technician knew what you didn’t: It is illegal for technicians to take impressions of your teeth and mouth. In addition to threatening to report the incident to the state dental board, you can tell the tech that you’ll volunteer to be a witness for the prosecuting attorney. Likely, the lab will readily give you a full refund.
We hope this is a teaching moment for all patients who are tempted to bypass their dentist and order dental restorations directly from a lab.
What About a Dental Implant?
If you’re undecided about whether to get another partial denture or a dental implant, no other form of tooth replacement is more effective than an implant. Unlike a partial denture, a dental implant has features that make it look and feel natural:
- It’s a titanium screw that an oral surgeon or implant dentist will embed in your jawbone like a tooth root.
- Implants fuse with your jawbone to anchor the replacement tooth.
- An implant stands alone. There are no clasps that put pressure on adjacent teeth.
- Your implant dentist will attach a dental crown to the top of the implant. It replaces the part of your tooth above the gumline.
But your outcome with a dental implant depends on the skill of the dentist who places it and restores it with a dental crown. Look for an experienced, highly skilled implant dentist. Don’t bypass any aspects of treatment or take shortcuts this time. Dental implant mistakes can be disastrous, and you’ll have to start the entire process again.
This post is sponsored by Steven Brooksher, DDS, a Baton Rouge dentist and a fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.