How to Get an Honest Second Dental Opinion

patient getting a second dental opinion

According to a survey conducted by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the vast majority (well over 80%) of adults have cavities and missing or filled teeth. This means that you’ll likely need a dental procedure at some point in your lifetime. 

But how do you know the treatment plan your dentist is recommending is the right option for you? It’s never a bad idea to get a second dental opinion. Here are a few tips on how to acquire an honest second opinion that will help you make the right decision for your oral health.  

Come Prepared. Obviously, if you’re seeking a second dental opinion, your primary dentist has already assessed the issue at hand. Ask your doctor for a copy of your radiographs, and make sure to take them to your appointment with your second opinion dentist. 

Just Ask and Listen. One of the oldest tricks in the fortune teller’s book is using information that you volunteered to create an answer that (surprise, surprise) you will feel is insightful. Luckily, dentistry is based in reality, and whatever dentist you go to for a second dental opinion will be able to make an assessment without the aid of the information your dentist already gave you.

Don’t tell your second opinion dentist about your primary dentist’s treatment plan. By withholding this information, you ensure a new, unbiased solution. If dentist #2 knows the ins and outs of the recommendation you’ve already received, they might try to come up with a solution that cuts corners, presenting you with a more competitively priced but less thorough option.

Compare Notes. If your second opinion dentist comes to you with the same solution that your primary dentist did, congratulations! That’s most likely the best plan of action for the health of your teeth. If the doctors’ plans differ, then it’s time to start asking questions.

Follow-up with the “Why.” Once you’ve heard your second dentist’s entire treatment plan, then show them the plan your primary dentist recommended. Ask them why their course of action is a better option than the original recommendation. Once you’ve got those details, it’s time to visit your primary dentist again and repeat this process all over. Show them the treatment plan that your second dentist recommended and ask why they believe their original treatment plan would prove more beneficial.  

Make an Educated Decision. You can consult every dentist in your area, but when it comes to your health, the decision is ultimately yours. Review your options, weigh the pros and cons of each treatment plan, and read up on what the procedures might entail. If you follow all these steps, you will undoubtedly make a wise decision for the health of your mouth.

Extra Tip: Remember, your teeth are meant to stay healthy for a lifetime. While the most expensive procedure might not always be the best choice, investing in the long-term health of your smile is always better than finding a quick, cheap fix. 

More Information: For help on finding another dentist, check out my article How to Vet a New Dentist. If you’re interested in learning more about me or my practice, please pick up a copy of my book: The Big Smile and follow me on social media: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn