Dentist appointment: How to save money

Visits to the dentist are important for your oral health, but they can also be expensive.

It’s estimated about one third of Canadians do not have any form of dental insurance.

The last thing you want to hear is that you need a filling, a crown, or a root canal, but if your dentist recommends a procedure do you always need to follow through with it? When should you consider getting a second opinion?

Consumer Reports took a look at some common dental procedures to help you figure out if and when you really need them.

“There’s a lot of gray area in dentistry, and there’s not always one right answer for a given problem. Some dentists may pressure their patients to get more expensive treatments. That’s why it can be wise to get a second opinion,” said Catherine Roberts with Consumer Reports.

In fact, only 27 per cent of people have ever gotten a second opinion on a recommended dental treatment or procedure, according to a recent Consumer Reports survey.

Researchers sought the advice of dentists to find out what you should do if you’re told you need a procedure.

Take something routine like a filling. Replacing or repairing a filling can be important when they’re damaged, but be wary if your dentist recommends replacing them simply because they’re old.

“Age alone should not be the only reason for new fillings. So, push back if your dentist recommends replacing your fillings just because they’re old,” said Roberts.

If your dentist recommends a root canal, make sure they perform the adequate testing, which may include X-rays and a sensitivity test. And if your dentist recommends pulling a tooth, consider asking if there are other ways to extend the life of the tooth because an implant can cost you thousands of dollars.

“A tooth extraction is generally the last step for a damaged tooth. So if your dentist recommends an extraction ask them to explain why, and consider getting a second opinion,” said Roberts.

According to the Canadian Dental Association, “After all your questions have been answered, if you are still uncertain, you may wish to get a second opinion from another dentist. Often, a second opinion will give you confidence that your dentist has planned the right treatment for you.”

To find a dentist for a second opinion, consider asking friends and family or searching for information on the Canadian Dental Association’s website and be sure to ask for your records including X-rays to give to the second dentist.

When you do ask for your second opinion, don’t explain what the first opinion was, so the new dentist can examine you without any preconceived notions. 


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