It’s hard to find anyone who enjoys going to the dentist. Yes, regular visits are important for oral health, but a dental visit can be stressful and quite expensive, especially if it’s for something other than a cleaning and checkup. But do you always need those recommended procedures? What about seeking a second opinion? Consumer Reports takes a look at five common dental procedures to help you figure out if and when you really need them.
There are a lot of gray areas in dentistry, and there isn’t 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.
In fact, only 27% of people have ever gotten a second opinion on a recommended dental treatment or procedure, according to a recent Consumer Reports survey.
Consumer Reports sought the advice of dentists to find out what you should do if you’re told you need treatment.
Take a routine procedure like a filling. Replacing or repairing a filling can be important when it’s damaged, but be wary if your dentist recommends a replacement simply because it’s old.
Age alone shouldn’t be the only reason for new fillings. So push back if your dentist makes such a recommendation.
If your dentist suggests a root canal, make sure he or she does adequate testing first, which may include X-rays and a sensitivity test.
And if your dentist recommends pulling a tooth and adding an implant, ask 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 why, and consider getting a second opinion.
To find a dentist for a second opinion, Consumer Reports recommends asking friends and family or searching on the American 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 mention what the first opinion was, so the new dentist can examine you without any preconceived notions.