I invested significantly in my smile about five years ago and had some cosmetic bonding done across most of my mouth. I have the tendency to grind at night, and so I had worn down most of my teeth and my front ones were so bad that the dentist had to rebuild quite a bit of them. However, the dental work is absolutely gorgeous. I saw a cosmetic specialist for it and she truly gave me a beautiful smile. I’m very mindful of it and I wear a nightguard now. About two weeks ago, I noticed that the gums below one of my molars was tender to the touch, so I went in to my regular dentist and had it looked at. He told me he thought the root had died some time ago, probably due to my grinding, and says the tooth is a total loss now. He gave me antibiotics to tide me over, but says I need to have the tooth pulled. However, he will not pull the tooth unless I sign a waiver saying he’s not responsible for any damage done to my teeth, including the cosmetic bonding I had done. This is unacceptable. If he damages it, he should correct it or pay to have it corrected. How should I approach this with him? I did try talking to him, but he says the agreement is standard and everyone signs it.
Before getting into the agreement, it’s a good idea to address why you need an extraction. If you had extensive work done just a few years ago, and have been following up with regular care since, and have continued to wear your night guard, why is he recommending an extraction? Unless you broke off a significant portion or have a large amount of decay, an extraction isn’t necessary. The tooth needs endodontic treatment (a root canal) and likely a crown, but you should be able to save it. Your primary goal should be to preserve it and hold onto that tooth for as long as possible. Unless there’s more to your story, your first step is to go get a second opinion and see if another dentist can save your tooth. If you’re unsure of who is good, check with the dentist who did your cosmetic bonding. If she doesn’t do general work, she will know someone who provides quality care outside cosmetics.
As far as the waiver goes, yes, that is standard. A skilled dentist may be able to avoid damaging your existing work, but if it’s extensive, there’s always room for something to go wrong. Most reputable dentists will do the repairs or pay for the repairs even though you’ve signed a waiver, but each one is different. The bottom line is that if you don’t have total faith in him not to damage your cosmetic bonding or you don’t believe he’ll help you correct it if damage is done, you should go somewhere you’re more comfortable.
This blog is sponsored innovative chairside veneer matrix maker Uveneer.