An Honest Second Opinion
You’ve recently seen your dentist and you have been told some things about the health of your mouth and teeth. You’re not 100 percent sure that you fully understand what’s been said, or why certain treatment is needed. Maybe you have some issues about trust or competence. Perhaps you feel you need a fresh, honest, unbiased second opinion. What should you do?
If you feel like you want a second opinion about a dental health concern, it probably means you should get one. “You’re never wrong in seeking a second opinion,” says Richard Price, DMD, a retired dentist from the Boston area and a consumer advisor and spokesperson for the American Dental Association.
The Benefits of Getting a Second Opinion for Dental Work
All dentists have unique backgrounds because they were trained differently or because they have seen different sets of dental health problems in their practice. Multiple perspectives can help you make an informed decision about treatment that works best for you.
Where to Go and What You Should Ask
There are several ways you can find another dentist to assess your problem:
- Ask friends or family. If you don’t feel comfortable talking with your current dentist about your concerns, ask friends or family to recommend a dentist.
- Call a dental society. A local dental society may be able to provide a referral for a second opinion consultation.
- Contact a local dental school. If you live near a dental college, call to see if they can suggest a dentist for a second opinion.
- Ask another dental specialist you may already be seeing.
- Once you find a second dentist, consider asking these questions:
- Do you agree with the diagnosis my dentist has made?
- What treatment options do I have for my problem?
- How much will each option cost?
- How will each treatment option improve my dental health?
- What are the risks and benefits of treatment and what will happen if no treatment is done?
- What should I expect in the future?
Weighing Your Dental Treatment Options
Keep in mind the different perspectives of your care providers as you weigh your options. Your current dentist has the advantage of familiarity with your dental health history, while a new dentist may have the advantage of a fresh outlook and a different approach.
The most important thing is to avoid making any major decisions about your dental health until you are comfortable with the care and information you have received, and that all your concerns have been addressed.