From time to time, I’m asked by patients to provide a second opinion for a dental treatment prescribed by another clinician.
Why seek a second opinion for dental treatment?
It’s an opportunity to assist that I take very seriously. From the patient’s perspective, a second opinion for a dental treatment is worth pursuing if you have any concerns about the cost or benefit of a recommended treatment.
Occasionally, I also seek a second opinion for complex treatments I’m considering for my own patients. This provides confidence and certainty around the most ideal course of action; not just for the patient, but for me as well. It is especially helpful when the fate of a tooth or teeth lies in the balance.
In a practice like Define Dental, where we can draw from the deep pool of skills and experience of four accomplished dentists and a hygienist, seeking a second opinion is easy to do. For us, it’s as simple as walking down the hall to consult with a colleague. Together, we can assess and diagnose a patient’s condition and recommend treatment options.
However, for most people, seeking a second opinion for dental treatment is not that straightforward. Perhaps through a lack of awareness, they don’t think to ask. Or, as it is for many, they accept the advice of their dentist without questioning it. And this is totally understandable. Our dentist is a trusted advisor in management of our oral health.
How can a second opinion for dental treatment save teeth?
Recently, I treated a woman who was referred to me by her mother-in-law, who had been my patient for many years.
The woman who was referred had a serious toothache, which she’d neglected for a long time.
Although her husband had tried to convince her to take action earlier, she had avoided seeing her dentist. When she did finally summon the courage to go, the dentist recommended the tooth couldn’t be saved.
Initially, I agreed with the dentist’s diagnosis. I felt it was probably right, given the tooth’s condition. However, this lady really wanted to save the tooth, so we took it to the next level.
I was able to consult with Dr Omid Salar, one of the other dentists at Define Dental, who has a special interest in root canal therapy. We collaborated on the options for this woman and, even though the likelihood of success wasn’t as high as normal, we mapped out a treatment plan.
This is the value of a second (and even third) opinion within a single practice, as we have at Define Dental. The combined skills and experience of the clinicians can lead to a more ideal treatment solution for patients. It’s a win-win for all.
Due to the advanced nature of the woman’s tooth, root canal therapy was the agreed treatment route. We decided that treatment would be delivered over a couple of visits instead of a single visit. This allowed us to monitor the effectiveness of treatment progressively and take remedial action if the tooth didn’t heal as well as it needed to.
We also used a combination of modern treatment materials and pain management techniques that made the root canal therapy a very manageable experience in all ways. Staging treatment also meant the costs could be managed more easily too.
Although it’s only been just a few months since this woman received her treatment, the prognosis is promising. Long term, we need to review the healing to assess if the treatment will be successful, however for now, she is out of pain, and the tooth seems okay.
The outcome achieved was made possible by this woman being open to seeking a second opinion. Her desire to save the tooth prompted a course of action that led to her tooth being saved. The bonus? She was able to take advantage of consulting more than one clinician in a single location, giving her confidence in the treatment plan she decided upon. If she hadn’t agreed with our collaborative opinion, at least it gave her another point of reference for moving forward.
In my opinion, that’s what exceptional dental care is all about.
Owned by Dr Les Jabbour, Define Dental is located in Benowa. As the Gold Coast’s premier dental practice providing quality dental care to local residents longer than any other, Define Dental has decades of experience of providing exceptional dental care for the local Gold Coast community. Define Dental has a number of highly experienced clinicians who are skilled in providing a second opinions for prescribed treatments, including root canal therapy. Why not book an appointment with one of our team to discuss your options?