When your dentist has diagnosed that you have a “mouthful” of oral health problems that need to be fixed, there are times when you have doubts if all of the prescribed dental work is absolutely necessary.
Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal.
Each dentist has a unique background and has encountered various dental health problems in their practice.
If you think you need a second opinion just to be sure, then, by all means, get one.
There is nothing wrong with seeking a second opinion – even the American Dental Association says so.
The benefit of getting a second opinion
Seeking a second – or even third or fourth opinion – can help you make a more informed decision about your treatment because you are given multiple perspectives.
Especially if your dentist is a general dentist, it would be more advantageous to seek the opinion of a specialist.
This is not to say that your general dentist lacks knowledge; rather, it’s because a specialist has more experience in the diagnosis and management of specific oral health problems.
When to get a second opinion
To reiterate, one instance where it might be necessary to get a second opinion is when your case requires being seen by the specialist.
While there is no rule on when to get a second opinion, it still depends on what the problem is and the corresponding treatment for it.
For example, minor oral health problems like a little cavity on your molar or changing a filling don’t really warrant a look by multiple dentists.
But if it is something like a gum surgery, then it is worth consulting with a periodontist (a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of gum problems).
Other instances where you should consider a second opinion include:
1) A major health problem was diagnosed (i.e. oral cancer),
2) The treatment instituted did not improve your condition in any way, and
3) The recommended treatment or treatment plan is not within your budget and you want an alternative.
How to get a second opinion
There are a number of ways for you to find another dentist to seek the second opinion from. For one, you can ask your current dentist for a referral to one of her colleagues.
You can also call a dental society (local or national) and they can surely refer you for a second opinion consultation.
If you have dental insurance, be sure to call your insurance company first to confirm if second opinions are covered.
Most companies cover further consultations but only under certain conditions or circumstances.
Once you find a dentist, here are some important points to discuss:
- The diagnosis of your current dentist.
- The treatment options available, both recommended an alternative.
- The cost and risks of each treatment option.
- The consequences of refusing treatment.
- The longevity of the results and the need for additional treatments in the future.
Upon getting your second opinion and comparing it with your current dentist’s recommendations, be sure to weigh your options thoroughly before proceeding.
If the two opinions are conflicting and you can’t make up your mind, you can always ask for another opinion.