Deann Merchant

Deann Merchant

I’m an artist, an advocate, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and most recently a victim of dental malpractice. I was actively pursuing my passion as a Semi-professional “Singer/Song Writer/Radio Host/Animal Activist” until the reality of declining health forced me out of everything I loved and worked so hard to achieve.

I lost most of my teeth at the age of 16, due to having little to no medical or dental care. The easiest solution financially for my parent at the time was to have them pulled. Because of my age, my jaw was not yet fully developed and my maxillae (upper jaw) immediately began to resorb. Over the next 27 years, my maxillae resorbed so drastically that I became a dental cripple.

Unable to effectively and comfortably support a denture, my husband remortgaged his home and paid $68,000 for me to start the process of doing a dental restoration. That involved a sinus lift, a bone graft from my hip to my maxillae, and 11 implants finished with crowns and bridges.  It all went well with the surgery and implants. There were no issues until I got the bridgework installed, that’s when my nightmare began.

After a 9 year struggle for answers from the consistent dental issues and continuing declining health, I learned my dentist made a serious error in measurement. I had a constant uncomfortable feeling. However, when I expressed the “vise grip” feeling and rocking issues I had been experiencing, it was always ignored. Later in 2014, I learned that the removable prosthetic should have seated right away after insertion without any discomfort, but that was never the case. I was also told by the lab owner that designed it that stability is vital to ensure the longevity of the implants and dental device. When the dentist first saw that I had to bite down hard several times to get the clasps to close, he should’ve immediately addressed the issue. Instead, he never directly addressed it as if to imply there isn’t a problem.

I went to my oral surgeon in 2015 to express my concerns. He verified that I should not be experiencing movement or discomfort. After checking my prosthetic, he validated there was definite movement and acknowledged that is not good for the implants over the long term. Furthermore, I learned from the Lab owner that the metals used in my restoration (bridges/crowns) were not Titanium as I was told (which I had paid for and seen advertised on their website), but rather a combination of dissimilar metals. This is a practice that is all too commonplace and potentially puts patients in harm. Because of the labs choice to use those metals, I am now suffering from extremely ill health from metal poisoning along with the daily struggles of malfunctioning and deteriorating dental work.

It has been validated by both my Allergist and several other prosthodontists that my suffering for the past 9 years was caused by the initial error in measurements in combination with the lab’s use of dissimilar metals. Serious allergies to the materials used in my restoration have developed from their mistake and continues to negatively impact my life. Some of my symptoms include constant mouth rashes, nightly tongue swelling outlining metal attachments, dry and burning mouth, and loss of sublingual glands (Saliva), along with numerous systemic issues.

Through this preventable tragedy, I have created an advocacy web site to help others become more proactive in their dental care. Understanding how metals interact in the oral cavity along with learning the right questions to ask is the best way to ensure the best outcome! I encourage readers of my story to take advantage of a page I designed specifically for dental patients on my advocacy site. It contains a wealth of important info that anyone can use to make a more informed decision and avoid the pitfalls of deceitful practices.!the-empowered-patient/yjnmf

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