Would You Return To A Dentist Who Botched The Job?

Would You Return To A Dentist Who Botched The Job?
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, hacks and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Lifehacker Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a fix.

I recently underwent dental work on a front tooth which was knocked loose by a well-aimed book thrown by my toddler (it turns out words can hurt you after all). Despite being a relatively simple procedure, the “fix” hurt quite a bit due to the dentist’s poor bedside manner. To add insult to injury, the tooth then broke loose again less than a week later.

Earlier today, I found myself sitting in the same dentist’s chair, enduring the same needlessly rough fingers as he re-glued the afflicted tooth. The reason for this is simple: because the tooth broke free, he was obligated to redo the procedure free of charge. It seemed like a smart, frugal move at the time.

So my question to readers is: would you return to a dentist that botched a job for free dental work? Or was this an epically stupid decision on my part? (For the record, my tooth appears to be holding itself together this time and it wasn’t quite as painful.)


  • My girlfriend’s dad recently had a heart operation in which the surgeon accidentally pierced something he shouldn’t have. It could’ve gone very badly but he managed to patch it up in time. However this meant my gf’s dad needed to come back for some follow up surgery. He was more than happy to use the same surgeon, reason being that “He knows he screwed up the first time, so he’s going to be the most careful surgeon in the world the second time round”. Second surgery went fine 🙂

    • Yeah, if it’s a guy who’s a proper medical professional (surgeon, dentist, whoever) then yes I’d trust them to get it right the second time.This would not be the case if you were talking about returning to some dodgy unlicensed electrician or builder to fix their mistakes!

  • If I could afford it I’d go elsewhere. But if I couldn’t i wouldn’t really have much choice.

  • I was a dentist once. Teeth are super sensitive once freshly broken, all the nerve endings are exposed. After a while they plug back up & it’s not as sensitive. Dentists aren’t telepathic, if something hurts it’s worthwile just mentioning it to your dentist. They can take steps to minimize any potential ocurrance of pain which varies person to person, but without saying anything they simply dont know.
    front teeth are notorious for falling out, you use them a lot and you have a very little surface area to glue things together. Short of removing MORE tooth to build a bit more support, they can fall off very easy.
    If anything, you should chose your dentist on how well he communicates. The general public simply knows too little about dentistry to make claims to say it was a ‘bad job’. A bad job, is one which wasn’t communicated properly.

  • I had one of my front teeth smashed out by a M249 machinegun return rod sometime ago, and it took the same Army dentist many, many months to get the tooth fixed, as it didn’t have a stable base and would keep popping off at inconvenient moments, such as eating or smiling at potential dates.

    To make matters worse, months later, I’m in there to get a recurring infection cleared up in same area, and he brightly announces ‘Oh ! Look what I’ve found !”, and pulls out some wadding that he left in there twelve months earlier, and had forgotten to remove it.
    Turns out it was actually the cause of the infection..

    Nowadays, I use one of the best dentists I have ever come across (shameless plug: Ben Swindley), and I find I’m now more likely to visit him if I have a concern about my teeth, than waiting till my jaw is about to drop off.

    I guess it really depends on your circumstances – in the first example, I could have easily taken my business elsewhere to a civilian practitioner, but at a staggering cost to myself.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!