At an exam, your dentist says you have a mouthful of problems that require major dental work. Like, really major and really expensive. Before you just blindly make that appointment to get it done, you may benefit from a second opinion. Here's where to turn — and what to ask.
There aren’t specific rules about which dental procedures require a second opinion. On the other hand, it’s definitely not necessary for several dentists to examine every single cavity either. In other words, a filling is not as complicated a procedure as is, say, gum surgery.
Second opinions can be helpful in the following scenarios:
- Your dentist has diagnosed a major concern, such as oral cancer
- You’ve had previous work but it hasn’t fixed the problem
- You’re not sure the recommended treatment is necessary
- You're concerned about associated costs
- You don't have good rapport with your current dentist and/or you question his qualifications to make such a recommendation.
Why it’s a Good Idea
All dentists have different backgrounds and training. And, while they see similar dental issues during the course of their careers, some may see different ones than others. Sometimes, getting multiple perspectives can bring you to the best and most informed decision about treatment.
Seeking a second opinion is probably a good idea if you need to see a specialist. Specialists have expertise in certain conditions or aspects of dental health. And, the specialist may have more experience in diagnosing and treating your specific issue.
Where you Should Go
So you’ve made the decision to go talk to another provider. Now what? Here are few pointers:
- Ask your primary dentist for a recommendation.
- Ask friends and family.
- Call a dental society.
- Contact a local dental school.
Be sure to check with your dental insurance company before you go to that appointment! Your plan may cover a second opinion, but there may be a process you need to follow to ensure the appointment is covered.