Dentist Advertised as Affordable to Practice on Patients

I’m a little worried. Part of me is like, “This is my own fault”, and the other part of me thinks the dentist should have done better. I needed a dental crown, but had been putting it off because of the cost. Fast forward to last week. I received an ad by email about a local dentist. He’d just invested in some crown machine and wanted to get some extra practice on it so he was running a special on dental crowns. It sounded like an inexpensive way to get my crown so I jumped on it. First, the appointment took FOREVER. I was in the chair for more than half the day. I would say close to five hours. He kept going back and working on it. I’m a few days past this treatment and my tooth is super sore. Is this normal or could the “affordable” dentist have damaged the tooth?


Dear Laura,

porcelain crown being placed on prepared tooth
A cheap crown and an affordable crown aren’t the same thing.

There are three possibilities going on here. The first is normal soreness. Your tooth was messed with for quite some time. It’s normal for the tissue around it to be worn out from that and a little swollen. Take some ibuprofen and give it a couple of days. If the swelling and soreness hasn’t gone down then it is time to be seen again.

That leads me to the two other possibilities:

  • You could have an infection.
  • You could have some tooth trauma.

When Affordable Dental Care Goes Wrong

We’ll start with the infection, because it wouldn’t be the dentist’s fault. You mentioned you’d needed a dental crown but put it off because of cost. It is quite likely your decay spread during your procrastination. This could mean it reached the pulp. If that happened, you now have an infection and need a root canal treatment.

You won’t want to put this off because it is considered a dental emergency. The infection will spread, causing wide spread problems and increasing the cost of repairs significantly. The sooner this is looked at, the better.

The final possibility is the tooth suffered some trauma during the extended procedure. It would be hard to prove, if this were the case, but an honest dentist would want to know and fix any problems he or she caused.

Going into it, this dentist was upfront with you that he was practicing. Whenever someone is new to a procedure or method, it does take them longer. Muscle memory takes time to develop.

If you run into this situation again where you need work but don’t have money, look up affordable dentists on the internet. Many of them will be willing to do the work right away but work with you on payment plan options.

This blog is brought to you by Tulsa Dentist Dr. Ryan Noah.

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