Can a dentist charge me for crown that was made but not put into my mouth?

UPDATED: Mar 8, 2012

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Can a dentist charge me for crown that was made but not put into my mouth?

My new dentist told me I needed 2 root canals. I paid for the prep fees and the dentist ordered 2 crowns. I went to another dentist for a second opinion and the other dentist told me that I did not need 1 of the root canals or the crown. I went back to the first dentist and told him that I was not going to get the 2crowns that they originally ordered. They told me that they were going to bill me for the full amount of because they were made, even though they were not going to be in my mouth. Can I get charged by a dentist for a product that I never received?

Asked on March 8, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you had authorized or told the dentist to go ahead and have the crown created, then the dentist may charge you for it, even if you later elected to not go through with the procedure. You could be held liable under both contractual (e.g. that there was an agreement between you and the dentist, for him to order/make the crown) and quasi-contractual (e.g. "promissory estoppel"--in reasonable reliance on your representation that you wanted the crown, the dentist expended its own money to acquire one) theories. Only if the dentist had gone ahead to order the crown without checking with you, getting your approval or authorization, etc. would you likely not have to pay for it.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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