Does A Dental Second-Opinion Make Sense?
The quick answer is, absolutely. Medical second opinions are not limited to certain areas of medicine and in fact, I routinely encourage my patients and friends to pursue that option.
Any business, including medicine, has its share of unethical or even incompetent practitioners and therefore, when it comes to major dental work, a second opinion is quite prudent.
With many years of experience as a dentist, I routinely provide a complimentary dental second opinion to family and friends of my existing patients. And, over the years, I continue to be shocked at times at the unnecessary and costly recommendations by other dentists; a root canal when a deep filling is sufficient, extractions when the tooth can be saved, etc.
Dentists are human, they can make mistakes and since dental procedures are mostly irreversible, critical work can and should be questioned by the patient.
Your dentist should encourage and support your desire for a dental second opinion. If he/she doesn't, you should question and worry about it for sure. All you need is a copy of your x-ray and a dentist (yours truly) who is generous with his/her time and considers this a necessary service.
While in the majority of cases I've seen, the existing dentist's recommendation was correct, in about twenty five percent of the time (yes, that is 1 out of 4) the dentist recommended an expensive course of treatment where a conservative first-step should have been tried first.
Dentistry is an area that benefits from creative and new approaches; your toothache doesn’t necessarily indicate the need for a root canal, bone loss can be addressed and sometimes a toothache has nothing to do with your teeth and everything to do with your gums.
When in doubt, get a second opinion but beware; if you have an underlying dental condition that requires immediate attention to prevent further ‘damage’ (in most cases, you’ll experience sever pain) listen to your dentist and let him/her address the issue. Second opinions are ideal when there is no urgency due to pain, infection etc.