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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 18141
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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I have been receiving treatment by an orthodontist 11 months

Customer Question

I have been receiving treatment by an orthodontist for about 11 months and recently had my braces removed 1 week ago. My overall experience was pretty aweful, but I understood going into this that this was a long-term committment and since I had put a substantial amount of money down, I felt that I could not just find a new dr.
My issues with this practice started the day I had my braces put on. The doctor had very little patience for me or my concerns from the start, but it was early in my treatment, and although bothered by her bedside manner, I just let it go.
My teeth prior to treatment only needed some minor adjusting. I had some crowding in my lower jaw, but my top teeth were pretty straight overall.
As the treatment progressed, I was constantly having to tell HER what needed correcting, and even noticed that one of my front teeth was pulled down, crooked and was now uneven and very embarrassing for me. Although, my overall experience at this point has been challenging for me, I stayed hopeful that my final results would be worth it.
My final visit to remove my braces was my worst visit! I asked her in the beginning if this was going to be painful. Her reply was that I would experience some pressure. I thought, okay, I can handle that, but it was a very painful procedure. The brackets were shattering from the force she was applying, with pieces flying into my mouth and around the room. At one point, a piece of the bracket, hot from the drill, fell down my shirt and burned me, and when i tried to mention that it was hot and i was in pain, she would sit back and reply impatiently, "If you don't tell me your in pain i don't know.", yet my gums are bleeding and I am grimmacing, sweating, and pulling my knees up. Now, of course while all this is going on, it is difficult to speak, and clearly she was not picking up on my nonverbal ques of discomfort, or care for that matter. The force she used to remove the brackets was in my opinion excessive, and she had little concern for my care or comfort. She left deep grooves and swirl marks on most of my teeth, which a dentist had a difficult time buffing out, and my gums were badly cut from the drill, which would bleed and were very sore for a week after with eating and brushing, and one area of my teeth is still very sensitive when eating or drinking.
Through out my treatment, she always mentioned that some of my teeth were angled and that she would file them down, or as she would say, "hollywood" it, meaning that she would shave my teeth to make them even, but she did not do this and I again had to remind her of this even though we spoke about this on several occasions. She did come back to finish, but ended up shaving 2 of my teeth down too much and putting grooves/notches in them as well. I left very unhappy with the final result.
I feel my teeth are still not as straight as they could be, but I refuse to continue to be treated by this physician. She is aware of how I feel and agreed to waive remaining balance, but asked that I sign a document relinquishing her of any responsibility. I am not sure if I should sign this because I am not sure if I may need further treatment to correct her work and require that I pay another physician for what she should have done. Also, what about the damage that cannot be corrected, like grooves in my teeth.
I also want to ask for my medical records, molds, and any pictures that they have. Do I have rights to these?
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 12 months ago.

You have rights.

You can ask for your medical records. However, the doctor may ask you to pay for the copying of the records and delivery to you.

You have a right for the doctor to pay for damages resulting from the substandard treatment and for the expenses you would incur to have the problems corrected and work completed as you agreed.

It is not prudent to signa a release of liability at this time because you may have more damages than you think. You need to first go to another provider for a second opinion and know what you are dealing with. Then you can make a demand for this physician to pay for the damages before you can release her from further liability on the case.