I’m really frustrated over the lack of progress I’ve had with Invisalign. A little over 1.5 years ago, I told my dentist that I wanted to straighten my smile. The big issue was that the line between my two front teeth wasn’t lined up with the middle of my face, so it made everything look asymmetrical. His plan involved doing Invisalign for nine months to straighten that line and then doing some veneers. To his credit, he let me do payment plans. I paid half of the treatment costs up front and then made payments for the full nine months. At the end of the nine months, the line still wasn’t quite right. He suggested we do another six months and ordered a new set of aligners.
Fast-forward to this week, I’m nearing the end of the second round and my teeth still are not how they should be. I consulted with another doc who says I never should have been offered clear braces. He says I should have done traditional metal braces.
Now I don’t know who to trust. Should I get a third opinion? And, if so, and this doc concurs I should have done metal braces, do I have recourse? Can I demand a refund from first one? Without it, I’m not sure I can afford to start treatment all over again. And, even if I could, I’m not sure I want to.
If you aren’t certain whom to trust, there’s no harm in getting another opinion, but let’s break down the specifics here.
Addressing the midline is tricky. The aligners are incredibly precise because they’re generated by a computer to exacting measurements. There is some possibility metal braces would have been a better choice, but it could also be a difference of opinion. A lot of general dentists offer orthodontic treatment with aligners and that’s within their level of expertise and comfort zone. It sounds like you started with a general dentist. On the flip side, orthodontists usually offer both, and they are frequently old school in their approach, and it sounds like you had your second visit with an orthodontist. In either case, it isn’t necessarily wrong, but the dentist must be able to live up to the expectations he sets.
That said, any tool is only as good as the craftsman wielding it. It sounds like you do have a particularly challenging case and it’s probably better that you’re in the care of an orthodontist now. Regardless, you’ve given the first dentist a year and a half to make good on the expectations he set and he hasn’t. In this respect, it’s probably time to move on.
A lot of dentists will be totally ok with giving a refund under these circumstances. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an issue. Just start with a simple and polite refund request. You can speak with the dentist or to his office.
If he fails to respond, you can also ask the dentist you’re seeing now to send a refund request on your behalf. Doing so can help build the credibility of your case if the dentist has any doubts.
From there, you can caution him that you plan to take your complaint to peer review boards or the local dental board. Again, keep it polite, but be firm. If he doesn’t respond, take the action you said you would.
Lastly, you can retain a lawyer. This is not to say this dentist was negligent or did anything wrong—but it would be the next logical step if you don’t get the resolution you seek with the earlier steps. Best of luck to you.
This blog is sponsored by Elgin Invisalign dentist, Dr. Steve Sirin.