Updated on March 7, 2024
8 min read

Why Are Second Opinions Important for Dental Treatments?

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When it comes to dental treatments, second opinions can be invaluable. The input of various professionals provides a broader perspective and can help ensure you receive the most accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

In this article, we talked to various professionals in the dental industry to learn more about second opinions and why you should consider them.

Meet the Experts 

We sought the advice of the following experts for this article:

Mary Qian, DMD

Dr. Mary Qian, DMD received her dental degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, MA. She currently has her own practice in Palo Alto, California. 

Dr. Jennifer Silver

Dr. Silver currently practices at Macleod Trail Dental Clinic in Calgary, Alberta. She graduated with a Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Dr. Jordan Weber, DDS

Dr. Jordan Weber is a general dentist who received his bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University. He is the current owner of the Burlington Dental Center Team.

Dr. Ambika Amini

Dr. Ambika Amini is a general dentist with 10 years of experience in the UK. She graduated from Queen Mary University of London and founded My Private Dentist, a private dentist directory.

Dr. Dan Munteanu

Dr. Dan Munteanu is a board-licensed general dentist who graduated from the University of Montreal. He is currently directing Blanc Dental Centers and providing private training to his colleagues.

The Importance of Second Opinions

Many people seek second opinions for their dental treatments. A second opinion involves getting the judgment of a second (or more) dentist.

NewMouth: Why do you think it’s important for people to seek a second opinion for dental treatments?

Dr. Jennifer Silver: As a dentist, I emphasize the importance of patients seeking a second opinion for dental treatments as it contributes to informed decision-making and reinforces trust between the patient and the dental professional.

Dental treatments often involve various options, each with its own set of benefits and potential risks. I believe seeking a second opinion allows patients to gain a broader perspective on their oral health situation, enabling them to make more informed choices about their treatment plans.

NewMouth: Are there specific signs or red flags that should prompt a patient to seek a second opinion?

Dr. Ambika Amini: Patients should consider seeking a second opinion if they receive conflicting diagnoses, are uncertain about the proposed treatment’s necessity, or feel uncomfortable with a recommended procedure. If a patient’s experienced symptoms do not improve following treatment, or if they have any concerns about their initial diagnosis or treatment, they should seek further advice from another dentist.

NewMouth: What advice do you have for people concerned about the financial aspect of a second opinion?

Dr. Jordan Weber: If a patient is concerned about the cost of a second opinion, I simply tell them that the cost-savings could be massive by receiving an accurate diagnosis and avoiding unnecessary treatment.

The Process of Providing a Second Opinion

Different dentists have varying processes for providing a second opinion. Some dentists may agree with the previous dentist’s opinion, while others don’t.

NewMouth: What is your approach when a new patient comes to you for a second opinion?

Dr. Jordan Weber: If my diagnosis is significantly different than the previous diagnosis, I will usually explain to the patient that dental diagnosis is more subjective than any of us cares to admit.

NewMouth: How do you ensure your diagnosis or treatment plan is thorough when giving a second opinion?

Dr. Jordan Weber: If there is minimal harm in waiting on treatment, I often suggest that we do nothing now and bring the patient back in six months for another exam to see if treatment is recommended. This way, we can watch and evaluate the progression of the underlying dental issue.

NewMouth: What lessons have you learned from providing second opinions over the years?

Dr. Jennifer Silver: As a dentist, I have seen some patients often initiate the process of seeking a second opinion when faced with uncertainty or discomfort regarding the diagnosis or treatment plan proposed by their primary dentist.

The complexity of certain cases or the potential for major interventions prompts patients to actively seek alternative viewpoints to ensure they make the most well-informed decisions about their oral health.

The Challenges in Second Opinion

Dentists who provide second opinions may encounter different challenges. We talked to Dr. Ambika Amini to find out more about these hurdles:

NewMouth: What are some of the challenges you face when providing a second opinion?

Dr. Ambika Amini: A big challenge when providing a second opinion is ensuring you receive complete information from the initial dental opinion. Sometimes, patients may not be completely forthcoming about the diagnosis and options discussed. Patients can be nervous in a dental setting, and it’s important to be sensitive to this when offering advice.

NewMouth: How do you handle cases where your opinion significantly differs from the original diagnosis?

Dr. Ambika Amini: Due to previous experiences and individual skill sets, dentists may have varying approaches when presented with the same test results. Some dentists prefer a more conservative approach, whereas others may act quicker.

Both may be correct in their own right. It is important to stay fair whilst respecting the first dentist’s view. Tackling these issues means having in-depth conversations with patients and ensuring they feel comfortable.

Communication with Other Dentists

Receiving opinions from different dentists means receiving diverse perspectives. This is how Dr. Jordan Weber navigates communication with other dentists: 

NewMouth: Do you communicate with the patient’s original dentist when giving a second opinion? If so, how?

Dr. Jordan Weber: I generally do not communicate with the original dentist. Simply put, there isn’t much benefit in doing so. If I feel that the original diagnosis was accurate, I let the patient know that I agree with it and tell them that they can proceed with treatment in either dental office.

NewMouth: How do you navigate situations where there might be a professional disagreement with the initial dentist’s plan?

Dr. Jordan Weber: If I feel the original diagnosis was inaccurate, I let the patient know my findings and recommend treatment in my office. When in doubt, I bring in another dentist who works in my office and can provide an informal third opinion. This is a significant advantage of multi-doctor practices.

Patient Education and Involvement

Patients have their own responsibilities when it comes to reaching a final decision for treatment. This is what Dr. Mary Qian has to say about patient education and involvement in dental second opinions:

NewMouth: How do you ensure people understand the differences between the initial opinion and yours?

Dr. Mary Qian: When it comes to seeking a second opinion for any medical condition, the process can be overwhelming for most patients. However, the real challenge lies in ensuring that patients understand the differences between the initial and second opinions.

NewMouth: What role do you believe patient education plays in the process of a second opinion?

Dr. Mary Qian: Patient education is crucial in ensuring transparency and clarity in the whole process. As a healthcare professional, it’s important to carefully explain the nuances and technical jargon of any medical condition to the patient so that they can make an informed decision about their treatment. This helps build trust between the patient and the physician and ensures that the patient receives the best possible care.

Ethical Considerations

The process of providing second opinions is not without ethical consideration. Once again, we talked to Dr. Ambika Amini to know their thoughts about this topic: 

NewMouth: What ethical considerations come into play when providing a second opinion?

Dr. Ambika Amini: Ethical considerations involve respecting patient autonomy, maintaining confidentiality, and promoting honesty. It’s crucial to avoid disparaging the initial dentist and focus on delivering the best care possible for the patient.

NewMouth: How do you maintain objectivity when assessing another professional’s diagnosis or treatment plan?

Dr. Ambika Amini: Maintaining objectivity requires a commitment to evidence-based practices, continuous education, and a focus on the patient’s well-being. Regular peer consultations and self-reflection contribute to a balanced perspective.

Advancements in Dental Care

Dental care has gone through many changes and technological developments. This is what Dr. Dan Munteanu thinks about the advancements in dental care: 

NewMouth: How have advancements in dental technology and methods impacted the process of giving second opinions?

Dr. Dan Munteanu: Advances like 3D X-rays, digital scans, digital X-rays, and treatment presentation software allow us to make better diagnoses and clearer presentations to our patients. Furthermore, a dentist who has more advanced training and uses the latest tools that can be less invasive or more comfortable for patients can present those as a competitive advantage. 

NewMouth: Do you think new technologies make a significant difference in treatment outcomes?

Dr. Dan Munteanu: In my experience, new technologies make a huge impact on treatment outcomes. They allow for work to be done with more precision, patient comfort, and less pain. Furthermore, new technologies focus on preventing disease and less invasive procedures to treat dental problems.


Considering the input and judgment of different dentists can help you decide on the best dental treatment. There are various processes and challenges involved in providing a second opinion.

Learning about ethical considerations and patient responsibilities in dental second opinions is also important. The input of the professionals we talked to highlights the importance of second opinions in dental care.

Last updated on March 7, 2024
Last updated on March 7, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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