I have some sensitivities to metals and other dental materials. When I needed a root canal treatment and dental crown, I specifically asked my dentist to provide me with a gold alloy crown so I would have less to worry about. The root canal treatment turned out fine, but I’ve been having some swelling around the tooth. I asked to see the dental certificate and my dentist told me the lab did not send one. I requested him to get one and it turned out the materials were not what I requested. There was only 2% Gold. The rest was 35% Palladium, 30% Indium, 30% Silver, and 3% Zinc. I suspect this is why I am having some swelling, though my dentist insists there are never allergies to these materials. Am I wrong for being upset about this? I’m beginning not to trust him as the cost for the crown was in line with a gold alloy but I received something quite different. Where do I go from here?

Benjamin

Dear Benjamin,

identalloy certificate

I’m going to say up front that I do not believe your dentist did not receive the certificate. By law, the labs are required to send them and the dentist is supposed to place that in the patient’s chart. It appears he wanted to increase his profits by giving you a cheap substitute believing that you wouldn’t have a reaction. I have learned not to say there are NO allergies to something. Each human body is remarkably unique and there is always the possibility that someone will have an allergy to something, even if very rare.

For a dental crown to be considered a gold alloy, it has to meet two qualifications. First, it must be made of at least 60% of a combination of gold, platinum, palladium, and silver. Yours was above that number and meets the first qualification. Second, it must be at least 40% Gold. Yours was only 2%, which is well below the qualification.

I’m going to suggest you ask him to re-do the dental crown with the materials you requested. If he refuses, tell him you will report him to the dental board. He violated the standard of care in two ways. One by misrepresenting what he provided you and two by not having the certificate (or pretending not to). Then, I want you to find a different dentist. One you can trust.

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