My 5 year old DD was referred to a pediatric dentist to fill a cavity. She has already had a cavity filled with another dentist. She was a trooper except she would not tolerate the dental dam. She couldn't breathe with it on. So with this new dentist, we told him upfront that she did not like the dental dam and couldn't breathe with it on, but said that he could give it a TRY if he wanted.
He placed the dental dam and DD cried and cried. Later she told us that she was trying to tell us we couldn't breathe, but of course with the thing in her mouth she couldn't. There was also a device that kept her mouth open, which was also unnecessary and panic-inducing. With the previous dentist, she opened her mouth as requested and complied with everything (sometimes having to be reminded to open wider, but no big deal).
DH and I were kind of beside ourselves watching this (and we're both struggling with post-procedure guilt and other feelings that we didn't stop it before). We KNEW she couldn't tolerate the dam. But the dentist REFUSED to remove it. When DD kept crying, he said that she was not cooperating and he couldn't finish the procedure. DH told him that he could finish it if he removed the dam, that the dam was the sole issue. The dentist said he would not remove it, and he put in a temporary filling. There were words. I have other complaints about the dentist too, but my primary issue is that his inflexibility on the dam was the sole reason the procedure could not be completed.
The upshot is that we have a temporary filling that we are going to have to get fixed, plus a traumatized 5 year old who never wants to go to a dentist again. I refuse to pay for a treatment that could have EASILY been successful except for the dentist's refusal. The bill we were presented with was for an amount slightly higher than the filling we had gotten before, so I doubt any discount was applied. And of course we'll have to pay for the procedure again elsewhere.
My husband and I talked with the office manager but she could not say anything other than "I don't know what to say." Apparently there were no procedures or anything. She could not help us in any way. Finally my husband said he was not going to pay it and we left.
I assume they will send us a bill, and I assume if we don't pay it they will send it to collections.
I would like to figure out the best way of going about this is. We are not going back to that dentist, so there is nothing to work out (for example, having the fees applied toward the next treatment). We are worse off than we were before we came (cavity is not fixed, and DD had a bad experience which will make it harder next time). I assume I should write a letter formally refusing to pay and explaining (better than I did above) why. I assume I should send it signature required.
I doubt that will stop them from doing anything but if this goes to a lawyer, I'm sure the letter will help. I'd rather pay a lawyer the fee than this dentist, but this is probably wishful thinking since the dental bill is probably worth no more than 1 hour of a lawyer's time.
So, does a consumer have any rights? Or do I just choose between paying this inept ass or having this go on my record for 7 years? I am not concerned with my credit score (it's about 800 last I checked, but I am not planning to use credit, luck willing) but I sure am not looking forward to 7 years of collection letters and calls. This visit was traumatic enough to not get a frequent reminder of it up until DD becomes a teenager.