Go Dental in Valencia CA destroyed my smile. If you get a dental implant from the incompetent general dentists at Go Dental, you're playing Russian roulette with your smile.
Dr. Go incorrectly placed a dental implant in the very front of my smile that gave me gray gums and a tooth (#10) that looks like some giant, joke tooth. This was a totally unnecessary procedure that I only did because Dr. Go convinced me it would give me a more natural looking smile. What I got was a dental implant post sticking out way above my gumline. This cruel joke of an implant resulted in four (and still counting) additional surgeries to try and fix my smile: particulate bone graft (Dr. Okui, 3-04-13), gum graft (Dr. Okui, 9-25-13), "pinhole technique" gum graft (Dr. Okui, 7-31-14), VISTA gum graft (Dr. Zadeh, 4-02-15).
After Dr. Go's colossal failure, instead of directing me immediately to an experienced oral surgeon, Dr. Go steered me to his college buddy, Dr. Matthew Okui, with an email stating: "I am sending him to you [Dr. Okui] because frankly, I do not trust the work of any of the periodontists in this valley."
Dr. Okui performed three of the four additional surgeries listed above. Once these surgeries failed to produce the promised aesthetic results, Dr. Go's buddy stonewalled me on the case, effectively dumping me as a patient.
After it became painfully obvious Dr. Go and his buddy were just stalling for time, and really had no idea how to fix the screw Dr. Go left sticking out of my gums, I visited several impartial dentists for their opinions: Dr. Melvin Kum (1-15-15), Dr. James Formaker (1-17-15), Dr. Lawrence Toomin (1-20-15), Dr. David Levine (1-20-15), Dr. Brian LaSage (1-22-15), Dr. Homa Zadeh (1-26-15).
All of these professionals gave me variations of the same narrative: Once Dr. Go took the CBCT (3D scan) of my maxilla before the implant, he should have easily seen my case would require a bone graft to achieve anything close to a pleasing aesthetic. By moving forward without a bone graft, Dr. Go robbed me of my most promising treatment option: a substantial bone graft with my vital bone and tissue still in place to support a strong, healthy and stable bone graft.
Dr. Zadeh, an experienced instructor and academic, widely considered to be an authority in the dental implant field, also told me the implant could have been angled better, stating in our last visit (10-29-15) "If the implant was tilted in the opposite direction it would have created a lot less work for everyone."
I confronted Dr. Go with this information and asked him to pay for my corrective treatment including the additional surgeries resulting from his careless work. Dr. Go refused, insisting his other patients would be "just fine" with his original work -- the work he himself calls aesthetically unacceptable in his original email steering me to Dr. Okui.
Dr. Go is a joke. Don't let the nice office fool you. Dr. Go is not qualified to do these types of procedures. Dr. Go is an incompetent "general dentist" whose inexperience has currently cost me $11,590, five surgeries, three and a half years of unending hassle (as of this writing, I am still without a permanent tooth), and ultimately my smile. If you care about your smile, find another dentist. If you are in a similar situation now, seek immediate legal advice.
Don't make the same mistake I did by trusting Dr. Go for as long as I did. Don't fool yourself into thinking Dr. Go will ultimately do the right thing. He won't. Seek an impartial second opinion now and talk to an attorney.
I was a patient with Go Dental for ten years with a decent looking Maryland bridge on my front tooth (#10). I never liked the shape of my teeth or the asymmetry in my smile, so when Dr. Go suggested I look into a dental implant I was definitely interested in anything that could give me more natural looking teeth.
Dr. Go said a dental implant would give me a much more pleasing aesthetic, since an implant would "tuck into the gum like a natural tooth." I was very pleased at the prospect of having a more natural looking smile but moved forward cautiously.
I asked Dr. Go for some before and after pictures of work he had done. After a long wait, Dr. Go emailed me a few photos. In hindsight they weren't at all revealing of the quality of his work, since my smile is very gummy with the tops of my teeth showing whenever I laugh or smile in a full, natural smile.
Ultimately I moved forward since I mistakenly trusted Dr. Go. I had been a patient of his for ten years so I assumed he was experienced and knew what he was doing. How wrong an assumption this turned out to be.
The first step was something called a "CBCT of my maxilla," which in lay speak is a 3D x-ray type scan of the front of my mouth. Dr. Go charged me $200 for this. Later he tried vehemently to deny this CBCT was ever taken but I have all the records. The machine was brand new at the time and looking back at Dr. Go's incompetence through this entire tragedy, I'm convinced I was probably the first patient he ever used it on.
My wife, a registered nurse, was also shown this CBCT scan during my procedure where she took some great photos of Dr. Go's hack job. Though she tried to refresh his memory he's never admitted this CBCT scan exists.
I know now that after the CBCT of my maxilla it should have been totally obvious to any dentist with a thimble full of brain tissue, my case would require a bone graft to achieve anything close to a natural looking smile.
If Dr. Go sent me to a specialist right then my story would be very different. Instead Dr. Go told me: "the bone is very thin but there is enough bone to support the implant." He explained to me the tolerances that were recommended for dental implants but that's it. That's the only information I got before we moved forward.
There was no planning. No photos of my mouth. No aesthetic consideration. Nada. Looking back I honestly believe Dr. Go had zero experience with anything close to my particular situation. But that didn't stop him from butchering my mouth and destroying my smile for the next 30 years.
Once the implant and restoration were completed the first tooth was giant -- much bigger and taller than my two front teeth and substantially bigger than my original bridge. This crazy joke tooth stretched high into my gum line, well above any of my natural teeth and was pointed at the top, like an inverted fang.
The tooth HAD TO BE GIANT, since Dr. Go pointed the implant in the wrong direction, placing it so the post sticks out in the middle of my gum line, way over and between my natural teeth. There really wasn't enough bone or gum for the tooth to tuck into either, so the tooth just sat on top of my gums exactly like the Maryland bridge did. Adding insult to injury, my gums were also dark gray now from the titanium implant showing through the bone, like this dark gray line pointed at this giant fake tooth.
I hated it. There was no more smiling. Personal photos of this time do not exist. Life was miserable.
I know now that Dr. Go made several mistakes he would spend two years lying about and covering up. It's evidently common practice to use white implants with anterior teeth so you don't get those gray gums. When another dentist tipped me off to this, I confronted Dr. Go. His answer to me was "white implants fail a lot" and "no one uses them." When I asked him if he considered that I might get these dark gray gums he said, "yes."
I'm not sure which is worse, that this idiot potentially never knew he was planting a big gray line in my gums pointing at a giant fake tooth, or that he knew and just didn't care. I guess both answers are equally disturbing.
So this was the first tooth Dr. Go planted on me. Needless to say, I was devastated. Dr. Go promised me the tooth would be like my original bridge, only it would tuck into the gums like a real tooth. Now I had gray gums around a giant fang like protrusion larger than any of my other teeth. When I first laid eyes on this monster tooth, I was at Burbank Dental Lab for something called a "custom shade."
Let me be frank here. Burbank Dental Lab is the Walmart of dental labs. After visiting six new dentist in Southern California I can tell you none of them have any respect for Burbank Dental Lab. They use this place for back teeth -- stuff that's not going to show -- but not Dr. Go. This is Dr. Go's go-to lab. Why, aside from the fact that he's an inexperienced clown?
I'm sure it's cheap.
The Burbank Dental Lab office doesn't look like Dr. Go's office. It looks like the set for the next Saw movie. Dr. Go probably makes $500 off a custom shade and never even has to see the place. You do all the work and he gets all the money. You, the patient, drive to their dirty office, you help them color your tooth, you fumble around in their dark office, and Dr. Go sits in his nice, clean, beautifully lit office and pockets your money. It's a perfect win/lose situation. Dr. Go wins, you lose.
Burbank Dental Lab doesn't even have a proper dental light, so when the girl paints your giant fake tooth, if you want to actually see how the color matches against your other teeth, you've got to walk out to the street just to see the thing. There's more. They don't even have a proper tool to hold the tooth up to your other teeth. You actually have to stand on the street corner with your fake tooth in one hand and a hand held mirror in the other, hopelessly trying to eyeball the color of your tooth.
Let's just say, in my current panic over this joke of a tooth, the Burbank Dental Lab color matching "process" did not yield positive results. The final tooth color was snow white -- so mismatched it was as cringeworthy as the size and shape of the tooth itself.
Sensing I was on the verge of coronary (or murder), a technician there explained that he thought the tooth was too big also, and that they could use some "pink porcelain" on it to reduce the size. He then gave me his opinion of pink porcelain -- that it was "quite noticeable close up" and with my gummy smile it would basically look like crap. Awesome. Dr. Go was charging me $6180 for something I could confidently be assured would look like garbage. Sometimes life is just a cruel joke.
This whole episode was pitched to me as something I would love. Dr. Go insisted this was all for me, so I could get the tooth color "perfect" and "exactly how I wanted it." But their facility is a joke. You could never do that there. I never want to see this place again as long as I live. And despite my persistent objections, Dr. Go actually sent me back to this hell hole to do it all over again. The second time was even more absurd and comical, but I'm getting ahead of myself. For you to truly understand the depths of this tragedy, you have to meet Dr. Go's college buddy first -- Dr. Matthew Okui.
After this implant surgery and the monster tooth debacle, Dr. Go referred me to Dr. Matthew Okui, his periodontist friend and lifelong accomplice.
Dr. Okui's first suggestion was pretty offensive. He said maybe I should try "not smiling." He also asked why Dr. Go didn't discuss the projected look of the tooth before the surgery. In my mind we really did. I had a tooth there. It was my bridge. And I'd been a patient of Dr. Go's for ten years, so he had plenty of impressions of it.
This leads me to only two possible conclusions to Dr. Okui's plain and simple question:
1.) Dr. Go didn't discuss the projected look of the tooth because the tooth would have been the same size and shape as my bridge if Dr. Go had placed the implant correctly.
2.) Dr. Go didn't discuss the projected look of the tooth because he really had no idea what the finished tooth would look like.
Regardless, at the time Dr. Go was adamant that he had done the placement correctly and seemed genuinely determined to fix the situation. Dr. Okui also believed he could correct the problem. It would only cost me another $2696 and Dr. Okui would dive right in. If only I had known the truth then. If only I'd not been seduced by the sweet smell of hope. Now the only hope I have is that I might save someone from this same comic nightmare.
My first surgery with Dr. Okui, was on 3-04-13 and involved some rough reshaping of that snow white, monster tooth and something called a particulate bone graft. The purpose was to move the gum line down to where it was before and cover up my dark gray gums. The surgery wasn't terrible in the scope of how much worse things were yet to get, and the results even seemed promising.
In lay terms Dr. Okui was basically slicing my gum to the bone, plastering particulate bone matter over the implant, and then patching it all up with a chunk of skin sliced from the roof of my mouth. So yeah, that was fun.
After the swelling was gone the surgery yielded pretty weak results in both covering the gray implant and bringing the gum line down. This led to my second surgery which was more skin cut from the roof of my mouth and plastered over the site and another six months of healing. The results actually seemed better and I was generally feeling optimistic.
Now, after talking to so many cosmetic dentistry specialists, I feel any results are, realistically, only temporary. These guys were not looking for real solutions. If they were they would have contacted someone that knew what they were doing.
These guys were stalling.
These guys, Dr. Christopher Go and Dr. Matthew Okui, were stalling for time. They knew Dr. Go bungled my case in a big way. They knew what every other cosmetic dentist I spoke with knew -- that "the bone sets the tone, but the tissue is the issue." Once Dr. Go removed all my bone with the implant, my options were nil. A decent sized bone graft would never take and my gums would continue to recede back to the same messed up spot over and over again. They just didn't want to tell me that.
But back in la la land, my case was actually looking pretty good to me. Dr. Go wanted to move forward with a second tooth restoration. So what did doctor "incompetent" Go do? Did he say to himself, "Gee, Adam's gums look pretty good with that tooth restoration Dr. Okui reshaped during surgery. Maybe we should try and match that progress with a new custom abutment that's fashioned from that current tooth." Why would Dr. Go, a complete moron, do something as logical as that? At this point I had never even heard of a custom abutment. Guess what? Neither had my dentist of ten years.
So instead of doing what's common practice in cosmetic dentistry: creating a custom abutment that doesn't exacerbate the problem, Dr. Go tossed out two surgeries and a full year of periodontal work by removing the reshaped restoration and sending me back to his favorite hell hole: Burbank Dental Lab.
How did I fall for this again? How was I duped by this three-day-a-week dentist? Dr. Go assured me that Burbank Dental Lab would get the custom shade right and reshape the tooth on the fly. Anything I wanted they could do. All I had to do was drive over there and my prayers would be answered. Have you seen the Saw movies? No one's prayers are answered at Burbank Dental Lab. Burbank Dental Lab is where smiles go to die. And that's exactly what happened.
This day was devastating for me. I had to drive forty minutes to Dr. Go's office then forty minutes back to Burbank Dental Lab. Then forty minutes back to Dr. Go's office, then forty minutes home.
At the start of the day, Dr. Go showed me the new tooth in his office. Guess what. It was identical to the tooth they had already sprung on me over a year ago. The tooth in my head, the one Dr. Okui reshaped during surgery looked a million times better than this new one.
How did I trust this moron for so long? Dr. Go tried his hardest to force that tooth on me but there was no way I was wasting $8876, three surgeries and over a year of my life, just to end up with the same ghoulish tooth he planted on me the first time.
So Dr. Go told me to take the tooth to Burbank Dental Lab where they could reshape it right away. He promised me Burbank Dental lab could give me everything I wanted -- a new shape, a perfect color. Go there and all would be well. What an idiot.
Since I didn't really have any say in the matter, I took another stab with Burbank Dental Lab. I knew I'd been screwed one year earlier with the "custom shade," so this time I was determined to get the color right. The first monster tooth was ridiculously huge and fang-like and immediately put me into a full panic. Since I was delirious with anxiety, I never really focused on the coloring process. Had I known I would be forced to wear that ugly tooth for over a year I would have pulled out of my state of shock and done something about that color. This time I knew that nightmare could be unfolding again. This time I could at least get the color right. Good color. Focus.
I must have spent at least an hour working on the color. The girl would paint a little on the tooth and then we would walk out to the street corner where the light was good enough to check the progress. Then back inside for more tooth painting and then back to the street. This giant monster of a tooth got the Leonardo treatment. It was the Mona Lisa of teeth. And all the time, in the back of my mind, I knew we were all just wasting our time.
I'm a professional artist. I've done ceramics and sculpture for twenty years. The time to reshape the tooth is before you put the color on it. So after this extended exercise in futility, the day pretty much went exactly where I expected it to go -- South.
Once the color was right, Burbank dental lab pulled out your standard issue Walmart abutment, slammed it into my delicately crafted gum line, and presto, my tooth looked exactly like it did the first time I was forced into this hell hole one year ago.
Oh, man. If I only knew then what I know now. This whole nightmare could have gone so differently. Custom abutments are commonplace in the world of cosmetic dentistry. They are standard practice with experienced dentist that actually care.
So they seated the new painted tooth on the Walmart abutment and, as expected, it looked like crap. I explained that Dr. Go told me to come here so they could reshape the tooth. That it was the shape of the tooth that was wrong. I had pictures on my phone that I had photoshopped myself. I sent these to Dr. Go weeks before any of this, so he'd be able to effectively communicate with the lab. In hindsight I doubt he even looked at the photos himself. Burbank Dental Lab was obviously seeing them for the first time now.
The photos sparked a deep discussion over the shape of my new tooth. There was some debate about "gum tissue" and "ridge lines," but let's face it, this is Burbank Dental Lab. This is where smiles go to perish. There was no reshaping that tooth. Dr. Go didn't know what the hell he was talking about. The tooth was cast in porcelain, fired to last 30 years. No one could reshape it on the fly. They told me they would have to remake the tooth and to their credit, they did seem genuinely sorry I'd wasted my whole day.
I drove back to Dr. Go's office with no tooth. No hope. Dr. Go's office girl made me a tooth out of composite while Dr. Go formulated a new plan on the spot. It involved more surgery with Dr. Okui and a statement so utterly clueless it will be burned in my brain for the rest of my life. After this long, wasted, devastating day, Dr. Go said to me, "I may need to do some online research to find another lab." Ouch.
Not to spoil it for you, but Dr. Go never did any "research." Dr. Go had a temporary Maryland bridge made and sent me back to Dr. Okui for another surgery. When I pressed him later about the lab situation he told me, "We're comfortable working with Burbank Dental Lab." Of course he is, because he's not the one who's really "working" with them.
Not to get too off topic but I feel obligated to explain something here. People with all their teeth don't really know what it's like to interact with people when you're missing a front tooth. It's uncomfortable as hell. They're uncomfortable because they want to know what happened to your tooth. They want to ask you why you look like a homeless person. You're uncomfortable because you know they're uncomfortable standing there feeling sorry for you. It's a confidence obliterating situation.
If you work with people or interact with people socially on a regular basis, going without a front tooth is just devastating. This whole episode kind of destroyed my thinking. Looking back on it now it seems so obvious that Dr. Go was just an idiot that never gave two thoughts to my case or my situation. At the time I saw him as the harbinger of my future smile. Had I been thinking clearly I would have seen and done things much differently.
I know now from working with a brilliant cosmetic dentist and academic, that a custom abutment is really the key to solving a lot of the problems with my case. At the time, and without near the knowledge I have today, I asked Dr. Go about using the abutment Dr. Okui reshaped during surgery since that abutment matched with the decent gum aesthetic Dr. Okui had achieved, but I never got any answers from Dr. Go.
Dr. Go couldn't answer because he didn't know what he was doing. General dentist work with what the lab gives them. Walmart mails them a tooth, they stick it in. Dr. Go is more like an auto mechanic then an artist. That "doctor" before his name makes you think, "This guy isn't a moron. This guy is "Dr. Go." I guess I could say and idiot in a white lab coat is still an idiot, but you get the picture.
So after this nightmare day at Burbank Dental Lab, Dr. Go's new random, deer in the headlights, "I don't have any idea what I'm doing but I have to say something," treatment plan was a temporary tooth and back to Dr. Okui for surgery number four. This time the tooth and abutment would not be in the way so I could really grow more gum tissue and we could bring that gum line down. Ironically the abutment he called "in the way" was the abutment that might have actually worked. Water under the bridge, right? Live and learn.
So I was scheduled for surgery number four -- number three with Dr. Okui. Dr. Okui must have just gotten back from a dental conference because he was enthusiastic about a new technique that would solve everything. Now he had the perfect solution that would give me miracle results. Later I found out this was all just fluff. The "new" technique he was all jazzed about, other dentists called "controversial" and "just a rebranding of a very old technique."
The procedure is called "the pinhole technique," but my wife -- the registered nurse -- called it a "blood patch." What I know for sure is that "the pinhole" was the most painful surgery yet, far more painful than any of the previous three surgeries, and the results were a big fat bust. It did nothing. My gums swelled up and looked good for a month or so but after that it was back to depression city.
Dr. Okui's attitude also changed dramatically. This was around the two year mark, so their plan to stall for time was nearing a close. I thought we were working on a real solution. Now I think they were just doing damage control. Dr. Okui literally turned into a condescending, stonewalling prick. I would ask something about a custom abutment, and he would smile and say "let's talk in six months." It was clear what he really meant. Dr. Okui meant: "Get lost."
Dr. Go's attitude changed too. This was his "treatment plan" so "get lost" wasn't really an option for him. But he did try to get rid of me. They put me into a temporary Maryland Bridge to get me through the pinhole healing process.
This temporary Maryland Bridge was not cemented in well. It kept falling out so I would have to make regular eighty minute round trips to Dr. Go's office, just so I could get my tooth cemented back in again. His office staff even suggested I get myself some super glue incase my front tooth fell out on the weekend when the office was closed. Man, that Dr. Go is one hell of a guy.
On my last visit shortly before the Christmas holiday, on one of these desperate missions to get my yellow tooth cemented back in, Dr. Go was visibly angry and frustrated over my case.
Before the implant was ever done, Dr. Go had a flipper made. This is like a retainer with a tooth on it that you can put in your mouth so you have a tooth. He made this incase there was a problem with the temporary tooth they used after the original surgery. Dr. Go wanted me to wear that flipper so he didn't have to keep re-cementing the temporary Maryland Bridge.
These flippers are a nightmare even when they're done well, just because you have to take them in and out of your mouth to eat. If you use one you are spending all your meals without a front tooth. And The flipper Dr. Go gave me was particularly ghoulish.
Dr. Okui had installed a "healing screw" during the last surgery so I had this silver screw sticking out of my gums for a year. The flipper would not fit over the screw, so Dr. Go "fixed" it.
He reshaped the flipper in his office, handing me something that looked more like those Halloween hillbilly teeth you get out of a vending machine. After looking at this misshapen joke, I insisted Dr. Go put the temporary Maryland Bridge back in. He did, but he was not happy about it, muttering under his breath about how he "wasn't making any money off this." That's the moment I knew I made a huge mistake ever trusting this guy. Dr. Go was not interested in solving a problem he created. Dr. Go was just some regular prick in a white lab coat.
So I bought some super glue. Two kinds. And I started calling dentists.
This might be the only time I got lucky in this whole story because in Dr. Go's enraged state -- wait, I honestly feel at this point I should just stop calling him doctor, so -- in Christopher Go's enraged state, he cemented that temporary tooth in my mouth with so much anger and cement that it never fell out again. I gave it a lot of TLC, never eating pizza or hot dogs, or anything you have to bite down on with your front teeth. That ugly tooth got me through the holidays. Thank you ugly, ugly tooth. And it even lasted through my new year, new dentist, fact finding tour.
This is where I saw all those dentists I listed at the start of my story. I paid them all. There was a total of six. They all looked at my case and chastised me for being too cheap to pay for the CBCT scan of the front of my mouth. Of course you know that's not what happened. I paid for the CBCT so Chris Go could drool on it. They didn't all call me a cheapskate but in all seriousness, two of them literally said "if you had paid for a CBCT, none of this would have happened." These CBCTs must be magic if you actually know how to read them.
I learned a lot on my cosmetic dentistry crawl. Typically it's common practice in cosmetic dentistry to go as slowly as possible with front teeth. The dentist I met with typically liked to start off with lots of pictures and explanations of what the process could yield and what I could expect. All of the cosmetic dentists I met with took dozens of pictures and explained a very, VERY different process than what I received from Christopher Go.
They said whenever they deal with front teeth they sculpt a temporary tooth until they can achieve the desired look -- something like the process Dr. Okui engaged in during my first surgery when he reshaped that first tooth and abutment.
Once everything looks good with that temporary tooth, they use the temporary to make the finished product. I got none of this from my dentist of ten years. I got the Walmart treatment at a Beverly Hills price point. That first crap job Chris Go did, the one he "wasn't making any money off of" listed for around $5500. This $5500 doesn't even include the $200 CBCT he drooled all over and a $480 surgical stent I paid for out of pocket before the butchering began.
These cosmetic dentists also taught me about white zirconia and how it's fairly common practice to use it for anterior teeth especially if the patient has a high lip line with a nice gummy smile like mine. Oh, the pain of hindsight. What a devastating education this was turning out to be. I suppose Chris Go was getting his education along the way too. It's a real shame he wasn't "making any money off it."
I confronted Chris Go that January. I went to his office with my wife and a list of demands. True to his "I'm not a moron" perception of himself he just deflected all of my concerns. He insisted I never got a CBCT scan. I asked him to check. He proclaimed the implant was done before that technology existed. I asked him to look at my records. A simple walk to the front desk could have settled this, but that never happened. I asked him to pay for my additional surgeries. He said he wouldn't, but would return the money I had spent with him. To this day he never has.
I said you should make this right -- find a lab that knows what they're doing and fix my tooth. He said he was comfortable working with Burbank Dental Lab, but he would fix this and make things right. Nothing was accomplished. My wife cried. Chris looked more embarrassed than sorry. I left determined to find a new dentist.
Of the six dentists I visited that January, five of them said, nothing about my situation would ever change. Once Chris Go cut out my bone and replaced it with titanium, the best option for a nice straight, normal looking smile was obliterated. They were all happy to put in another restoration, but what I had when Chris Go started was pretty close to what I was going the get for the rest of my life. Chris Go screwed up. You paid for it. Bend over. The end.
Now I know what you're thinking... talk to an attorney. Sue him for malpractice. I tried. After talking to dozens of dental malpractice attorneys I can tell you these cases are very common with inept general dentists who took some class on dental implants and fancies themselves an oral surgeon. But the statutes of limitations are stacked in these rogue dentist's favor. You need to talk to an attorney immediately. If you make the mistake of trusting your dentist, like I did, you're screwed.
Chris Go was very kind and helpful for exactly two years. Go and Okui really ran the clock out on me. They never gave me the "get lost" treatment until after they knew attorneys wouldn't touch my case. So I never pieced together the "we messed up" side of the story until it was tragically too late. If you've made it this far in my story I hope it's not too late for you. Don't fall for the idiot in the lab coat routine. Call an attorney and send me a thank you email. Nuff said.
So back to my situation. Chris Go has offered to refund my money yet left me in a situation that's going to require a pricey, non-moron dentist to fix.
The one dentist I saw that January who gave me any hope he could fix this situation, was Dr. Homa Zadeh. Dr. Zadeh had tons of cases like mine and a Zen attitude that was not unlike my own. I get up at six a.m. I work seven days a week because I love what I do. Dr. Zadeh does too. Dr. Zadeh is on a mission to save people like me from people like Christopher Go and Matthew Okui.
Dr. Zadeh never talked bad about those guys but you could tell he knew what I'd been through. When I wanted to dwell on the past, he was ready to focus on the future. When I talked about how miserable it was being without a front tooth, he promised me he would never send me home without one. He told me a cute joke about how he would never send a patient home toothless without a free banjo. It was pretty obvious that he understood my situation.
So, I started working with Dr. Zadeh, and by extension, Christopher Go. Dr. Zadeh is widely considered the premier dentist in the dental implant field. He took the helm and laid out a strategy to not only fix what Chris Go had botched, but to perfect my entire smile. This is where my story turns a little into a love story. Not between me and Dr. Zadeh. I am to this day living with a temporary tooth that could fall out when I eat my next sandwich. This is about Mr. Go falling in love with Dr. Zadeh.
On my first visit to Homa Zadeh, Dr. Zadeh showed me dozens of photos of what I will forever refer to as the holy Grail of implant dentistry -- the custom abutment. These things were like works of art. After my experience at Burbank Dental Lab I knew this was where my previous treatments had derailed.
These things are not cheap but I was determined to get one. Dr. Zadeh's estimate to fix my smile was $5020 for his portion of the work. The treatment plan involved porcelain veneers -- five additional veneers that would deal with the giant implant tooth by enlarging the other teeth around it. He clearly understood aesthetics and you could tell it mattered to him. Thank goodness that temporary Maryland bridge was jammed in there good enough to give me time to think. It looked like complete crap but at least I didn't look homeless. This new plan was really a lot to consider. How much are veneers? Dr. Zadeh said my dentist would have to cover that portion of the work, and that's where the love story comes in.
Once I started working with Dr. Zadeh, Chris Go went from uncaring angry prick to swooning teenage girl. Dr. Zadeh needed my records and information on the case, so when his office requested them Chris Go's attitude miraculously changed. Now I was working with the man Mr. Go literally referred to as a "rock star." The old I'm-not-making-any-money-off-this-case-Chris-Go turned into the I'm-so-sorry-let's-all-work-together-and-fix-this-Chris-Go. That was the sales pitch, but the truth is, Chris Go wanted to get published. My case is a challenging situation. Dr. Zadeh has published several cases like mine already. This wasn't any kind of come to Jesus moment for Christopher Go. Mr. Go saw a clear opportunity to gain some status off my misery.
So I'm guessing you can guess what's coming next. Free dental work, right? Mr. Go is going to pay for my five veneers? That's what I guessed too but the truth is just so much more sinister.
Mr. Go offered to charge me his "regular price" for veneers. These veneers would only cost me $1041 per veneer. You've gotta love the irony here, but since Dr. Zadeh is at the top of his field, he doesn't really work with Burbank Dental Lab. He works with the Ferrari of Dental Labs, not the place smiles go to keel. And we all know Ferraris cost money, right?
So Chris Go's pitch was that I was getting a great deal and he was doing the right thing. He literally said to me "it would be morally wrong for me to charge you more than my standard price for a veneer just because I had to pay more with Dr. Zadeh's lab. For me this was pure comedy. The asshole that drooled all over my CTCB scan and then co-opted his buddy to cover for him for two years while my smile sucked and my legal recourse vanished, was all of a sudden proffering his take on "morality."
I kept my mouth shut.
He sweetened his offered with a "no interest loan" on the additional (and morally justifiable) $7,841 Mr. Go and his saintly staff of crack ethicist wanted to charge me.
I shrugged in what must have been construed as an "okay." In all honesty I actually considered letting this idiot trick out my smile, but I never once intended to give him another dime.
There's this epic scene from the old movie A Time To Kill where Samuel L. Jackson's character is on the witness stand talking about the two men that killed his kids. The prosecuting attorney asks Jackson if he thinks the men "deserve to die" and against all better judgment Jackson says "YES! I think they deserve to die AND I HOPE THEY BURN IN HELL." I'm not saying it's right -- on the contrary I'm very certain this is completely wrong -- but at that moment, with Chris Go pushing his $7,841 invoice and his feelings about "morality" in front of God and more importantly Mary Arelleno -- Chris Go's office manager that's condescending to the point of cruelty -- I actually thought of that scene. It ain't right, I know, but that's what I thought of.
So Mr. Go was in it for the street cred. And I was in it because I really had no other option. My resources were depleted. I had to put the $5020 Dr. Zadeh was asking for on a credit card just so I could move forward.
During the following months Christopher Go fed me a lot of information about Dr. Zadeh I'm still not sure is even true. Chris Go has a deep desire to get published and obviously felt working with Dr. Zadeh could accomplish this. To me, Dr. Zadeh was just another dentist I looked up on the internet. To Chris go he was a famous person that "didn't need the money." He was the kind of dentist "you had to have an invitation to see." Dr. Zadeh "didn't just take anyone." He made it seem like I got really lucky. I'm not sure after writing this, "lucky" is how I would describe my experience.
I feel a chief goal of these information dumps about Dr. Zadeh were to bolster the case for five veneers. Christopher Go actually said if Dr. Zadeh demanded five veneers "I have to do five veneers." I took all this in but I was really thinking now. I kept coming back to one little problem:
Chris Go took two years and couldn't even get one tooth right. How the hell is this moron going to get all six of my front teeth right? Everything he's done up to this point had proven to be demonstrably incompetent. Even if I stiffed him on the bill -- something I'm 100 percent certain he would deserve and about 90 percent certain I myself would be incapable of doing (Christian guilt is a real bitch sometimes) -- there's a very real probability that Chris Go would just destroy all my remaining good teeth.
I have a real gummy smile. Most people I've seen with veneers don't. They take advantage of the fact that their gums hide the tops of their teeth where the gums eventually pull back from the veneers causing gray gums and gum recession. I have five healthy teeth, designed to last me my entire life. Chris Go doesn't want to fix my smile forever -- even though that's what he initially promised me. Chris Go wants to use me as a canvas for one picture he can put on his website. Is any of this really worth the risk?
I guess I've already given you the answer to that, since at the time of this writing I still have not gone through with the veneers. I may do them yet, but to do them with Christopher Go would be tantamount to Russian roulette. At this point, I kind of feel working with any dentist could be Russian roulette.
So to tie things up, as of this writing I've cut all ties with the selfish idiot Christopher Go. Dr. Zadeh has performed the gum grafting technique he developed called VISTA and the results were encouraging.
I still have a temporary tooth. And the new custom abutment installed after Dr. Zadeh's surgery is too big, making my tooth as giant as ever. The shape is better but once again the color is totally off. Who's responsible? Who knows?
But Dr. Zadeh is encouraging me to save my money for veneers. I'm not sure I will do that. Once I find a new dentist and get some kind of permanent restoration I will update this post. Until then I guess I'll try Dr. Okui's sage advice: Don't smile.
If you have questions or you're in a similar situation and just want to vent, send me an email. I'd love to hear from you. Sincerely, Adam Strange, Los Angeles, California.