A bad experience at Clear Choice, Roseville, CA

My experience was and still is a nightmare with the Clear Choice people in Roseville, Ca. My father-in-law recommended them. On his recommendation and in the professionalism displayed on Clear Choice website I chose Clear Choice to place 3 implants (the back lower left (#18?),the next lower left (#19?) the tooth directly above #19) in my mouth. Dr. Sombrowski looked at the x-ray and said that added bone wouldn’t be necessary. I questioned that because a dentist in Mexico who pulled #18 and #19 said that there were deep cavitations. Still, he and the surgeon, Dr. Niggebrugge, stated that no bone was necessary. The day of the surgery I met Dr. Niggebrugge. I again emphasized the concern about lack of bone, but he dismissed it. When I was to sign a release about using human or bovine bone I asked Dr. Niggebrugge which was better. He stated that he’d decide which to use, but felt that it was his responsibility to point out that though the chance was very remote, their was a very tiny risk that I could contract mad cow disease from bovine bone(!). Of course I said that I didn’t want bovine bone to which he replied that he “probably wouldn’t use it”. During surgery I was under a mild sedative and I heard him say to the nurse that the bone was too soft. I had him remove the gauze and told him to please not to continue if there wasn’t enough bone. He replied that there was and I answered that I just wanted this to be done right! He assured me that he did lots of these surgeries and he was doing it right. I was in no position to argue so I asked for more sedative though there was no pain. I felt helpless. After returning home I felt alarm at the amount of blood and that #18 abutment was jutting toward my tongue. I visited the clinic twice more to see Dr. Sombrowski and Dr. Niggebrugge and they said that all was fine because natural teeth were often crooked and that implants often had to be placed at an angle where there was the hardest bone. They said that it was better to use natural bone because added bone was only successful 50% of the time. They also pulled the middle molar on the top left and placed added ground bone. The plan was to place an abutment when I returned in the spring. My winter in Mexico I had no problem with the 2 lower abutments. When I returned in September, however, the Clear Choice receptionist didn’t schedule me for the third abutment placement and because they were so busy, I’d have to wait til I returned in the spring from Alaska. Dr. Sombrowski took x-rays and said that everything was fine with #18 and #19. But he said that because of the angle he strongly recommended that both crowns be joined in a kind of bridge. He said that the crown leaning toward the tongue would have to be built further to the outside for balance. He had his assistants take impressions of the teeth and left the cubicle to work on the next patient. The young girl placed the impression plates that hardened like plaster. She had a very difficult time removing them and upon removing the bottom plate she had to tell the other young assistant to get the doctor because it was “stuck”. It was very painful and I was yelling. Dr. Sombrowski gave a direction from the other cubicle but it finally released with one more pull. On the way home I mentioned to my husband that I had ringing in my ears and they have continued ringing ever since. I’ve seen two doctors here in Ketchikan regarding the tinnitus, but they can’t find the cause. It started immediately after the prep work for the crown placements and one of my questions is, “Is there a history of tinnitus related to dental work and how can I treat this problem?” After what happened I became anxious about Clear Choice so I got a 2nd opinion from another Prosthodontist and after x-rays he said that the #19 abutment was failing. I returned to Clear Choice and was very angry because they had me scheduled to place the crowns the following day. They whisked me into a dental chair and after an hour consultation, x-rays and verification that #19 was failing, Dr. Niggebrugge performed emergency surgery and placed bone next to the #19 abutment. I was to leave for Alaska the next week and he recommended that it be x-rayed within 6 weeks. I complained that the cost of dentistry was high in Alaska and that this was the very thing I was told wouldn’t happen when I chose Clear Choice. I arrived in Alaska in May to work the season here as a tour guide. I learned that there was a visiting Prosthodontist coming from Juneau, but I would need a referral from another dentist. I called Susy, the receptionist at Clear Choice, and she said that they could send x-rays, but that they would be dark and difficult to read. I said that they’d probably take their own, so it wouldn’t be a problem. I called SE Dental Group in Juneau, but they said that Suzy called them to say that I had to sign a release for the dental records. I called Clear Choice again and signed a release to send all dental records. When I later called S.E. Dental Group they said that the x-rays they received were of my original x-rays prior to any abutment placement and there was no evidence of implants. They weren’t able to fit me into their busy schedule. I have aching in that back lower left abutment so I think that it is probably failing. My 2nd question is, “What do you recommend I do now?” I have to call soon to make an appointment to finish this work, but I feel no confidence in Clear Choice. Any advice is most appreciated. Sincerely, Katrina from Alaska

Katrina,
Generally, what I have heard about Clear Choice is that they follow recommended professional standards clinically, but their sales tactics are rather high-pressured. I don’t know if that is true in all cases – that’s just an impression I have from what I’ve heard. But if I’m hearing your story right, and this is the way it happened, there appear to be some clinical discrepancies here. Adding bone around a dental implant that has already been placed seems to me to be an admission that when it was initially placed, there wasn’t enough bone. And placing the implant at an odd angle will frequently lead to problems.

About your tinnitus – this is a symptom of damage to the TMJ joint. The timing of your tinnitus – right after the office had to wrench that impression out of your mouth, raises suspicions that during the wrenching your TMJ joint was damaged.

The best thing to do at this point is to get opinions from other dentists who have expertise in the surgical placement and restoration of dental implants and see if they can give you any insights about whether or not your treatment was appropriate, and what can be done now.

Links:
West Palm Beach dental implants.
This blog sponsored by West Palm Beach dentist Dr. Sam Sadati.