My dentist applied bonding to my teeth to cover fluorosis stains, but the color was uneven, and I could still see the stains through them. About four hours after I got home from the dentist, the bonding fell off four teeth. When I returned to my dentist to fix the bonding, I also told him that the color was weird, so he added another layer of bonding. This time the bonding fell off in less than a week. My dentist said that the problem exists because my bite is off, and I need to wear a mouth guard at night to cushion the bonding. That didn’t help. Now my dentist’s explanation is that bonding is a temporary fix, and it will only last about five years. I don’t understand why he didn’t explain all this before I agreed to get bonding. Besides that, I am starting not to trust my dentist. If I switch dentists, can I get a refund? – Geoff from Montana
It’s appropriate to switch dentists because you didn’t receive what you paid for—dental bonding to conceal fluorosis stains and enhance your smile. And the results of your dentist’s work are a basis for getting a refund.
Getting a Refund from Your Dentist
You can get a refund from your dentist if you can prove that your dentist did not meet the standard of care they promised. In your case, you paid for dental bonding to conceal fluorosis stains. Your bonding was faulty in several ways:
- It didn’t match your natural tooth color
- It didn’t conceal the fluorosis stains
- It fell off
When you request a refund and state the above reasons for it, your dentist should readily give you your money back.
If our dentist refuses to issue a refund, you have options:
- Present your case to a peer review committee
- File a complaint with the state dental board
- Inform your dental insurance company
- Hire an attorney
What Are Fluorosis Stains?
Fluorosis stains are discolorations in teeth that can occur if you consumed too much fluoride as a child while your teeth were still developing. Fluorosis stains can be mild, moderate, or severe.
- Mild fluorosis stains – Slight white spots on teeth might not require any treatment.
- Moderate fluorosis stains – Stains can cover the entire front surface of teeth and make them look blotchy.
- Severe fluorosis – Unsightly brown stains dominate the teeth.
Getting Treatment for Fluorosis Stains
A dentist needs advanced cosmetic dentistry training and artistic talent to conceal fluorosis stains. As a dentist applies dental bonding, they can see the results firsthand. Your dentist should have noticed that the color is off and the bonding was not working as intended. And a regular family or general dentist won’t have the needed bonding materials and shades in their office to give you beautiful results.
Mild to moderate fluorosis – When fluorosis stains affect the tooth enamel only, a cosmetic dentist might take theses steps to conceal it:
- Grind out the discoloration
- Apply a base layer of composite that has come opacity
- Overlay the base with translucent composite
- Polish the composite to a natural-looking gloss
Severe fluorosis – A cosmetic dentist will spend more time etching the teeth before concealing the stains. These steps follow:
- Apply a liquid bonding agent and cure it with a light
- Apply composite over the cured bonding agent and harden it
- Polish the composite
Porcelain Veneers for Fluorosis Stains
Depending on your case, some cosmetic dentists might recommend porcelain veneers to conceal fluorosis stains. The condition of your teeth and the extent of the stains affect treatment recommendations.
We recommend that you schedule consultations with two accredited cosmetic dentists. Look for accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) or the American Academy of Dental Esthetics (AADE).
- Ask about your treatment options
- Ask to see the dentist’s before-and-after patient photos of cases like yours
- Ask what results you can expect
Dr. Brian Lesage, an accredited fellow of cosmetic dentistry in Beverly Hills, sponsors this post.