Possible dental mistake: opinions on what to do

So I had a crown put on a tooth this week. I am getting more and more convinced that they capped the wrong tooth. This means they left the one that’s cracked as it was, and ground down and capped a perfectly normal healthy tooth.

What would you do about this, and what would you expect to be done? Just have them do the correct crown? Would you expect it done for free? Sue them? Call NBC Nightly News? Find another dentist to verify the cracked one is still cracked and then tell them? Not tell them but never go back?

I might add this cost me $750 out-of-pocket (besides what the insurance paid, which is now tapped out for the rest of the year), plus time lost from work. And I am really, really afraid of dental work, and this was a fairly “big” trauma for me and if they did do the wrong tooth, I’ll have to go through it all over again.


This week as in a day or two ago? Could easily be some tangential pain, especially generalized jaw pain. Let it go till Monday, then call and ask about a followup. If you are right, they should fix the correct tooth at no cost to you.

I had a tooth recrowned and the one in front of it crowned back in May. I ended up going back in a month later, because the crown on the front tooth had a high point, causing a lot of discomfort and pain with the way my teeth fit.

Call your dentist. Describe your symptoms without announcing that you think he made a mistake. It could be something easily fixable.

I had to return several times to get the fit right on my last two crowns. Apparently I have a very fussy bite and every nook and cranny has to align perfectly or I have pain. I agree with phouka. Call your dentist and see if they can fix it for you. There will likely be no more cost (other than frustration) even if you have to return several times.

My LORD. If this happened, I cannot express how much sympathy I have for you, and how cheesed off I would be at the dentist. Cripes.

Do you think this because you still have pain, or because it looks like the wrong tooth to you? If it is the pain, I agree with the posters who have suggested it might be from a poor fit when you close your mouth (I have had this, it is agony), or something else that might be easily adjusted.

By chance, did the dentist give you a copy of your x-rays? On your copies of the insurance forms, if you look back, it should say what number tooth was determined to be cracked, and then what number tooth was crowned. Hopefully these match. You can also count out your own teeth (I would suggest using a mirror - it’s harder than one might think to keep track while you are counting) and see if the number on your insurance is the same as the number of the crown you can see in your own mouth.

The reason I think it might be the wrong one is that it feels the exact same way when I chew (which is when it hurt before) as it did before the crown was done.

I had it done on Monday, so it’s been four days.

When I went in, the dentist came in to me and this is how the conversation went:

Him: So, what are we doing? (puzzled tone of voice)
Me: You’re putting a crown in … I have that cracked tooth … ?
Him: (Looks at computer version of my records.) “Let’s take a look.” Looks in my mouth on the WRONG side. “Which one is it???”
Me: It’s on the left, not the right! Either the last one or the next one in, I’m not sure. But I know it’s on the left, in the back. I think it’s the second one in."
Him: “Let’s take another x-ray to be sure.”
Me: “I just had x-rays a month ago.”
Him: “Those were bitewings; this is _______ [something I don’t remember].”

So he took the x-rays, started, and I didn’t know which exact tooth he was doing until it was time to create the crown so I got to get up and go to the bathroom, and looked in the mirror and to my surprise saw that it was the LAST tooth that was ground down, not the second one. I just assumed I had been mistaken about which tooth was cracked. Until I noticed that it feels the same (when I chew) now as it did before the crown was put in.

Now my whole left side of the jaw does still feel tender, which also surprises me. Not “painful”; just tender. That might be the crown, or the shots (I had a whole bunch).

I don’t feel any high spots on the crown, although maybe I wouldn’t. I mean, maybe there could be high spots that would only register as tenderness (and he did tell me that I might be tender).

It’s just that I thought it was the second tooth, I am pretty sure I remember being shown the crack in the second tooth, and it feels the same when chewing as it did before.

With those additional details, I think you should have a second opinion from an independent dentist. You very well may have a case against your first one if he did indeed crown the wrong tooth.

You didn’t mention a root canal, so I’m thinking they just put in a crown to stabilize a cracked tooth.

With a cracked tooth it’s quite simple for an infection to develop if something sneaks in that crack.

If that’s the case, it would produce the very symptoms of the sore cracked tooth before the crown was installed.

The good news is that antibiotics will fix it, no more dentistry required. I recently experienced a similar situation. It was surprising to me how a little infection (not an abcess, no massive swelling or fever or the like) could totally mimic the condition I had gone in for. But the dentist was correct in his diagnosis and the antibiotics did the job. But like all antibiotics it can take a little time to take effect.

Call your dentist or seek a second opinion.

I think I’d go to another dentist for a second opinion. Is there a dental school in your area? That might be a good option if there is.