Should You Seek a Second Opinion for Dental Work?

Seeking a second opinion is your right as a patient

Dentist
Dentist. Sean Gallup / Staff / Getty Images

You've had the same dentist for 10 years, and have built a wonderful doctor-patient relationship with him or her. At your last dental examination, he made recommendations for root canals and crowns for several of your teeth. Considering you have never had any problems with these teeth, you may not feel comfortable with his diagnosis. You may feel unsure if you should question this, though—should you seek a second opinion just to be sure?

Every patient has the right to obtain a second opinion, and for that matter, every patient has the right to refuse any treatment recommendations that they are not comfortable or willing to go a head with. As long as the patient is capable of making decisions and is of sound mind, the right to a second opinion and the right to refuse treatment is standard in medicine. It is perfectly reasonable and accepted for you to seek out a second opinion regarding potential dental work. A reputable dentist will not be offended by your desire to seek a second opinion for major dental work, and he or she may even suggest that you get a second opinion. They would much rather you be comfortable with the decision to accept their recommendation.

Finding a Dentist for a Second Opinion

When you have decided you want to seek a second opinion for some recommended major dental work, there are several resources available to help you find a dentist or specialist who can provide you one.

  • Your dentist: If you have developed a rapport with your current dentist, he or she is a good source for asking about second opinions. Ask for a referral from them, and they will likely be happy to recommend someone.
  • Friends and family: Your friends or members of your family may have their own dentists that they trust. Ask them how they feel about their dentists and if they would recommend them. 
  • Dental organizations: There are organizations devoted to dentistry that can be great resources for seeking a dentist for a second opinion. Many of these organizations can be found online, and there may be local organizations you can contact.
  • Dental insurance: Your dental insurer can be a resource for recommendations. Contact their customer service for assistance. Many plans cover second opinions, but there may be important steps the insurer requires in the process.
  • Dentistry schools: Schools for dentistry can also provide information on locating a dentist.

Once You Find a Dentist for a Second Opinion

When you choose to obtain a second opinion, and you have found a dentist that you would like to see, the dentist will need to do a complete examination. This examination is required in order for the dentist to record any existing treatment in your mouth, notate the treatment he feels is necessary, and finally, to investigate the reason for the second opinion. After the examination has been completed, the dentist will go over his findings with you, and explain any recommendations.

Who you choose to complete the treatment is ultimately your choice.

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