About two months ago, I began seeing a new sedation dentist because I have dental anxiety and need a lot of dental work. On my first visit, the doctor did the exam and discussed all the treatment. We settled on oral conscious sedation for all my work, with the exception of the days I was only getting crowns cemented. I sat down with the front office person and we mapped out a schedule, with a certain amount of work to do at each visit. The sedation visits were scheduled two months apart to allow me time to budget between them. I already had enough money set aside for the first one, so I scheduled that right away. They insisted that I sign forms in advance and prepay it, saying that I couldn’t legally agree to anything while I was medicated. That actually gave me some comfort. I felt like I was in control and felt like I could trust what they were doing.
Nothing remarkable happened the day of my appointment. I took my medication. I mostly slept through the appointment. My sister took me home after and I slept the rest of the day. But the next day, the office manager called me and told me the “good news.” The doctor had been able to work in three more fillings for me, so they were calling for payment. First, I didn’t agree to fillings. I didn’t even know they were doing them. I don’t think that teeth were filled without my consent, especially since they insisted that prior to sedation I would agree to all dental treatment for that visit. Secondly, I don’t have the money to pay for the fillings. We structured the appointments according to my budget. I talked to the office rep about my concerns. She told me they wouldn’t be able to cement my crown until my bill is paid in full, and that, by signing my full treatment plan, I was agreeing to the work. She also belittled me and told me I shouldn’t have scheduled the appointment if I couldn’t pay for the work. I am so upset I don’t know what to do. Can they do this?!?
No dentist, whether a sedation dentist or general dentist, should do any work without consent from the patient or guardian. Assuming you’re a legal adult, the consent would need to come from you. As far as having you sign the treatment plan as consent for fillings, it really depends on the wording of the document you signed. Most of the time, the agreement is related to finances, not for specific treatment.
Resolving the Issue with Your Sedation Dentist
- Your best option is to speak directly to the sedation dentist who treated you. Let him or her know what happened.
- If this is a reputable doctor, he or she will try to correct the situation.
- Ideally, that means not billing you for the fillings and cementing your crown without any additional costs. If not, this may be something you’ll have to report to your local dental board and/or a lawyer.
- We recommend that you find a new sedation dentist. This should not have happened to you, and it’s an incredibly rare occurrence. Please don’t let your experience prevent you from completing your treatment. You’ll likely have a much better experience if you get referrals from family and friends or read online reviews before selecting a new dentist.
- You can schedule consultations with at least two dentists before choosing a new provider.
This post is sponsored by Plano female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy. Dr. Lacy’s office is convenient to Addison, Allen, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Frisco, Garland, Highland Park, and Little Elm.