The power and purpose of a dental second opinion

Have you ever hired a professional for a job around the home, or visited a business for services you need, and been completely satisfied with the first one you picked?  Of course, you have!  We seem to manage to find the perfect person for the job at hand the first time around all of the time.  My guess is it’s because the business either came to you highly recommended by a trusted friend, or they appeared to tick all the boxes during your online research.  However, there does come a time when you struggle to find the right person to hire or visit so conveniently.  This is usually when the stakes involved are far more personal, emotional, and costly, causing you to be nervous and cautious about making a commitment in choosing ‘the one’.

This is when the purpose and power of a second opinion can come into play.  In the dental world, a patient may seek out a second opinion from a dentist for a variety of reasons.  As dental professionals, we welcome the opportunity to help patients struggling to feel comfortable moving ahead with necessary dental care.  Every Australian dentist makes a commitment to provide a professional standard of care, education, and advice to every patient that sits in the chair.  As a patient, you should feel confident and welcomed to use this to your advantage by seeking advice from multiple dentists until you feel ready to begin treatment.

Everyone would admit to seeking out a second opinion and quote for a service at some point in their lives.  Sadly though, in any industry, it can be viewed quite negatively as someone just shopping around for the cheapest price, or who can get the work done in the quickest time frame regardless of perceived quality.  In my experience, the dental patient pursuing a second opinion is often looking for more “value” than just a cheap quick job.

This article is to help you, the patient, feel more comfortable in taking the steps to seek out a dental second opinion if you’re feeling uneasy about a connection you’ve had with a dentist.  You may choose to return to the original practice after visiting and hearing a different dentist’s recommendations however, now you’ll be armed with confidence and trust in knowing it’s the right decision for you.  That’s the purpose and power of a second opinion!

‘You may choose to return to the original practice however, now you’ll be armed with confidence and trust in knowing it’s the right decision for you.’

The top 4 reasons you might decide to seek a dental second opinion.

1: You didn’t get along with the previous dentist.

It could be as simple as a slight personality clash, or a lack of communication in explaining your condition and treatment options that left you feeling confused and anxious to proceed.  Perhaps the dentist or a team member said or did something that hit a nerve (pun intended) and broke any trust that may have been established.  Whatever the reason, you no longer feel comfortable seeing this dentist for treatment forcing you to start over with someone new.  Not much more can be said on this one other than, ‘it’ happens.  Follow your gut and move on!

Want to find a dentist you love the first time around?  Find out how to search for the best dentist near you here

2: You don’t agree with the dental disease & treatment the dentist diagnosed.

When you book a routine dental check-up and dental clean thinking everything is fine, only to be told you need thousands of dollars of dental work, it can come as quite a shock!  It’s understandable you might want to seek out a second opinion to confirm the presence of disease or the warnings of a catastrophic dental emergency if the small issue that was found is left untreated.  For example, you may have been warned about a small crack in a tooth that would benefit from a dental crown.  Leaving it could result in half of your tooth breaking off at a very inconvenient time costing you thousands to fix – if it can be fixed at all.  Since you have no symptoms, pain, or obvious signs that something is wrong, you understandably think everything is okay therefore, why spend time and money on it now.

Fortunately, the most dental disease progresses slowly giving you time to identify there is a problem and fix it.  Hence why we harp on about going to the dentist every six months so that we can catch issues while they are little and less expensive to treat.  Tooth rot (decay) and chronic gum disease (periodontitis) develop over time and the body works hard to fight against the bacteria burrowing into your hard and soft tissue, but eventually if left untreated, the disease wins and you end up in pain.  That’s when you’re faced with a costly and time-poor emergency situation – possibly staring down the path of having to make a quick decision on ‘should I save my tooth or should it be extracted?’ 

I digress…  The real reason you don’t agree with the dentist’s diagnosis is that you don’t trust them as a person or the practice vibe, so you move on and attempt round two at finding a dentist you can connect better with.  The next dentist may even suggest the same course of treatment, confirming your fears that the disease is present – yet in this process is the purpose and power of the second dentist opinion once again – you’re in control to choose what and who feels right for you.

dental second opinion

3: The practice couldn’t meet your particular needs.

Not every dental practice or dentist can cater to all of your individual needs.  Because of this, it may lead you to source a clinic that can.

For example.

  • Maybe you need specialist care such as root canal treatments (endodontics), an implant (periodontics), or braces (orthodontics) and the practice doesn’t offer this service in-house and you’d prefer to keep your treatments under one roof where possible.
  • Perhaps you need a particular payment plan arrangement they don’t offer.
  • The practice facilities (wheelchair access/parking) or location and distance from your home make it difficult for you to continue going there.
  • The dentist does not offer particular treatments you want or need.

Whatever your reason, this practice is no longer the right match for you and now you need to find a new dentist that can cater to your particular requirements.

4: To compare dental quotes.

I use the words ‘compare dental quotes’ rather than ‘look for a cheaper price’ because it is my firm belief that the majority of people shopping around are not doing so because they want the cheapest price in town, they want value!  No one likes to feel ripped off or like they’ve been taken for a ride.  I have had the privilege of working for practices that are considered to be the most expensive in the area.  Over the years, we have welcomed thousands of patients in for a no-gap examination to discuss their disease and treatment needs.  We give them a treatment plan, and some are shocked by the price of our dental services.  They leave, go down the road for a second opinion with a less expensive competitor, and for those who felt even though we were slightly more expensive we were better suited to what they deem as most valuable to them after all.

For some, finding the cheapest dentist is what is most important to them. Fortunately in Australia, there are thousands of practices that offer low-cost dental care for you to choose from – so if cost is the number one factor you consider first you have a mountain of choice in this sector.  Cheapest care does not always mean poor quality, but it can mean you miss out on other features that the more expensive practices can afford to offer.  Therefore, it still pays to shop around to ensure you’re in good hands.  For others, the cost is not the number one factor but it’s important to consider nonetheless.  People are often just looking to justify their decision to go with the more expensive dentist by doing their due diligence of comparing costs before they begin treatment.  To me, this shows you’re a savvy shopper who cares deeply about both your health and your wealth.

Taking the time to seek out a dental second opinion and quote puts you in control of deciding who does your dental work.  For the true dental professional, our aim is to get you healthy and disease-free.  If you choose the cheaper dentist down the road, great – so long as you act and get the treatment completed our job is done.  Ideally, we do hope that you come back to our door after you’ve completed your research, of course.

The purpose of seeking a dental second opinion and the power it brings you in helping you decide who’s the right dentist for you should now be well understood.  If you’ve been to the dentist recently and something didn’t feel quite right, please take the time to get a second opinion.  We’ve made it quick and simple for you to compare dentists on AirSmile.  Our online marketplace was designed to help you connect with a dentist that ticks all of your boxes without having to attend multiple appointments before you find ‘the one’.

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