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I Need Help About a Failed Dental Implant

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I had a problem with a tooth quite a few months ago. My dentist said it could not be saved and extracted it right then. I’ve had so much trouble with him since then, that I wish I would have gotten a second opinion before letting him do this. I’ve lost all confidence in him. When he did the shot for the extraction, it felt like the needle went all the way into my brain. I actually screamed and I’m not usually a baby for these type of things. Ever since that appointment, I’ve had this horrible burning in my mouth. I went back to the dentist and he said it was normal and should only last a short time. I went forward with a dental implant procedure. When I came in to have the dental crown, my mouth was still burning. He said it was thrush and wrote me a prescription. The pain was intense when he was trying to screw on the dental crown. In fact, it was so bad, he had to stop and give me a shot for the pain.

The burning never went away, despite the prescription. Then, a few months later, when I was vacationing in the south, the crown just fell off. I found a dentist who had dental emergency appointments. He examined me and said that the dental implant was infected and needed to come out. He did the surgery and suggested I get a dental bridge. I opted for a dental flipper while I got a second opinion. When I returned home, I went to a friend’s dentist who put a dental bridge in for me. My question is shouldn’t the original dentist pay for the procedure to remove his failed implant? I’ve spent a fortune on this and my mouth is STILL burning. I don’t think his thrush diagnosis is correct.


Dear Paisley,

Dental implant next to a natural tooth

First, about the burning, I agree that it is probably burning mouth syndrome and not thrush. First, because the antibiotic would have worked had it been thrush. Second, because it started immediately after your first appointment, which is rare (if not unheard of for the onset of thrush). Finally, because your appointment was traumatic, based on your description. This is one of the commonalities for patients with burning mouth syndrome.

You are certainly within your rights to ask for a refund from the dentist on the failed dental implant, there is not guarantee you’d get one. You’ll get further if you have another dentist saying the dentist is at fault. I know you have that dentist from your vacation saying it was infected. I will say I have a niggling doubt about that. An infected implant would be at least a little bit loose. You didn’t mention anything about that, so it leaves me wondering. The thrush misdiagnosis and crown falling off are more easily provable and you should have no issues getting a refund for those.

If he won’t for the dental implant, you could threaten to write a negative review and report him to the dental board, but there is not much recourse other than that. Dental malpractice suits don’t generally pay much and it would require proving he was at fault with the implant.

If you ever need a dental implant again, this will obviously not be the best dentist for you. I am going to suggest you look for someone with extensive post-doctoral training in the subject. For instance, Dr. Esposito is a graduate of Dawson Academy, which is a great institution for this type of training. Another is the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies.

This blog is brought to you by Arnold, MD Dentist Dr. Meredith Esposito.