Where to Find a Second Opinion in Dentistry? | Dental Second Opinions

Dr Mark Elliott

Most of what we do in modern dentistry today is irreversible, it is invasive, and it can be expensive. Time and information are the key to making good decisions, and often in these situations, a second opinion can be valuable.

Has dental treatment ever taken you by surprise? A second opinion is a valuable tool that allows you to seek an additional opinion from other dentists regarding your dental care.

The additional perspective gained from a second opinion can help you assess any part of your dental treatment, whether it’s your treatment diagnosis, plan, aesthetics or health outcomes. The goal of this process is to provide a wider scope of understanding when it comes to your oral health and to help you assess the validity of any advice or treatments you have received.

Reasons to Find a Second Opinion

Modern dentistry can be complex and rarely is there only one choice of treatment available.

Every dentist has their preferences when it comes to their facilities, technology, dental products and services. A positive, trusting relationship and clear communication with your dentist can help you navigate your concerns and understand the different treatment options available to you.

On the other hand, communication can sometimes become strained or confusing, which may reflect a lack of trust or confidence. In these scenarios, a second opinion can be very beneficial.

Many factors can influence the relationship between you and your dentist. Some of the typical reasons that a second opinion is requested include –

  • A lack of trust or confidence (something seems wrong)
  • An uncertainty about the validity of proposed dental treatment
  • Questions about the expense, risk, quality or long-term viability of treatment
  • Feeling unhappy with the treatment outcome or the follow-up care & maintenance
  • Help with understanding multiple treatment options
  • To mitigate dental bias & seek specialist advice

“One of the benefits of treatment at BOH is that we have a mix of Specialists (Prosthodontists) and General Dentists, all with many years of experience and education. We can provide second opinions for our patients whilst they are in the chair,” says Dr Mark Elliott.

BOH Dental is a patient-focused dental practice in Brisbane, and in many cases, our patients can access a second opinion from another dentist within our practice. In circumstances where our patients would find a second opinion from outside our practice valuable, we are also more than happy to help organize this for you or to pass on your records to a dentist of your choice.

Prosthodontist Dr Mark Elliott discusses an X-Ray and the potential need for dental treatment with his patient.

Your Right to Informed Choice

In Australia, your ability to access a second opinion is a fundamental right across all of medicine – and you may request a copy of your medical records, diagnosis or test results at any time. As dentists, this is part of our doctrine and professional code.

During treatment, your decisions should be supported by quality dental information, guidance by your dentist, and you should feel your options have been adequately explained at all points of treatment. It is important to form an understanding of the reasons for diagnosis, available treatments, differences in cost, and the relative risk and benefits to each approach. This is known as informed consent.

If you find that you are not given the information to make informed decisions, or you lack confidence in any proposed dental treatment, then a second opinion can be a great way of receiving a wider range of information that can help you make better decisions.

What if I receive conflicting dental advice?

In some circumstances, you may be given different advice from different dental professionals. When this happens, we advocate transparent communication, and to establish a dialogue between all parties.

“Statistics show that often a second opinion will align with what your dentist has already shared with you, but in some situations, there may be some conflicting information,” says Dr Mark Elliott.

Ideally, the combined expertise of multiple dentists may help you find a solution that is ideal for you.

At any point, you can choose to change providers or dentists. Fortunately, the information discussed during your second opinion should help you make an informed choice regarding the future of your dental treatment, or help you come to an agreeable treatment plan with your original practitioner.

Can I get a second opinion after I've already finished treatment?

Receiving a second opinion after dental treatment can help you understand the outcomes and processes that influence your dental care. In many cases, just hearing from a second dentist that your outcomes are within normal parameters can provide peace of mind – for example, that a dental implant has been placed safely and competently.

Alternatively, you may feel that the on-going maintenance or viability of your dental treatment is questionable, and you may want to use your second opinion to gauge the quality of your dental outcomes. This is a normal request and any dentist that provides second opinions should be happy to assess dental treatments like fillings or implants that are placed by other dentists.

If issues are found with your dental treatment, then the dentist supplying your second opinion may suggest a treatment plan to help rectify these issues.

Will my dentist mind?

You should not hesitate to ask for a second opinion when it comes to your dental care.

It is completely within your rights to seek out a second opinion, and to access this knowledge to inform your dental health.

If issues are found with your dental treatment, then the dentist supplying your second opinion may suggest follow-up treatment or help you navigate these concerns as part of a larger discussion with your dentist.