male patient talking to a dentistAre you suffering from dental pain, but are unsure of the treatment that has been offered to you?  When you’re experiencing a severe toothache or worse, the last thing you need is to feel uncomfortable with your dental practitioner, including dental specialists, dentists and oral health therapists.

While you may generally be happy with the service your dentist provides, you are more than entitled to a second opinion.  What if you’re unsure about a dental diagnosis?  What should you do if you’re uncomfortable with prescribed treatment?    You should always speak up if you’d like to know more, or if you’d like alternative advice.

Dental care is extremely sensitive.  While all dental practitioners are trained to offer the best possible care and guidance, your rapport with individual dentists and oral health therapists may vary.  What’s more, your opinion matters – after all, they’re your teeth and gums!

You should never be afraid to ask for a second opinion from another dental practitioner, and in this guide, we will look at what you’ll need to consider if you are thinking about requesting a second opinion.

Do I Need a Second Opinion?

If you are happy with the advice and treatment you receive from your dentist and oral health therapist, it is unlikely you will need to look for a second opinion.  Ultimately, it is reliant on how you feel about the dental care you are receiving.  However, there are some circumstances where it may be more beneficial to you to have multiple consultations.  Let’s consider some of these scenarios.

  • You may not be comfortable with the dental practitioner you are seeing.
  • The treatment you have received from your dental practitioner may not have been satisfactory.
  • You may wish to get a differing opinion on a serious problem.

However, it’s important to remember that a second opinion is not always the best route to take. Seeking a second opinion may incur extra charges.  If your current course of treatment doesn’t feel right or is somewhat uncomfortable, you have the right to ask for alternative advice.  You shouldn’t feel bad about asking for a second opinion. Trust your instincts and look for a dentist who can offer you a different perspective.

The Benefits of a Second Opinion

Getting a second opinion holds plenty of benefits. If you’re unsure whether or not asking for alternative care is a good idea, let’s take a closer look.

  • You will have a different rapport with different dentists and oral health therapists. If you feel that you are not bonding well with your dental practitioner, you may bond better with an alternative.
  • The more opinions you have, the clearer the picture, or potential remedy, becomes.
  • All dental practitioners have different perspectives on treatment.
  • You may be able to find a more affordable course of treatment.
  • You may need major work and may require extra confidence.

There are no right or wrong reasons for asking for extra help.  If you do not feel comfortable with your course of treatment or have reservations about your dental practitioner, you don’t have to continue.

How Do I Get a Second Opinion?

Getting a second opinion on dental care may be as simple as approaching a different dentist and oral health therapist.  However, there are a few routes you may wish to pursue, which could offer you the quality of support you require.

  • Always ask your current dentist and oral health therapist if you can have a second opinion. It is not rude to do so!
  • All dental practitioners should be happy to refer you if you request so. It is a common request many dentists receive.
  • You can also ask dentistry groups and organisations to recommend a specialist.
  • Make sure to ask friends, family and/or co-workers for recommendations.
  • You can also look for reviews and recommendations online.
  • However, do be aware that not all online reviews are legitimate. Take care when comparing local dentists and oral health therapists.

The direct route, through your own dentist and oral health therapist, may be the quickest.  However, if you do not feel comfortable with your current dental practitioner, it may be easier for you to look at other channels.

dentist creating a dental record for a patient

Points to Consider

If you’ve decided to look for a second opinion, there are a few factors you should bear in mind.  While the second course of treatment or advice may help to ease your mind, there may not be a guarantee of better quality care.

  • Always check pricing. You will likely need to pay extra for a second opinion.
  • Consult your private health insurer. In some cases, health policies cover multiple opinions on sensitive issues.
  • Think about specialist dental care. Is your second opinion coming from someone with experience in the area?
  • Make sure to check provable credentials of your second dentist and oral health therapist.
  • A second opinion may be different from the first. You may wish to look for a third.
  • A second opinion may not always give you the confidence you need.

Asking for a second opinion can be a big step to take.  Always consider costs, likely outcomes, and whether or not it is the best route for you to choose.

Questions You Should Ask

When looking for a second opinion, you will likely have planned what you’d like to ask in advance.  A second consultation should help you to make up your mind on the action you’d like to take.  Therefore, you are not going to be looking for vague or uncertain answers.  You should always be ready with a plan of action in mind!

But how do you prepare?  Here are a few questions you should always ask during additional consultations.

  • How can my problem be treated?
  • How much will my treatment cost altogether?
  • Do you have any specific recommendations?
  • When can I expect treatment to be complete?
  • What is your perspective on the problem(s)?
  • Do I need to have treatment at all – what will happen if I go untreated?
  • Will the treatment(s) carry any risks?
  • What can I do to help improve my condition or situation?
  • Do the options you suggest improve my long-term dental health?
  • Will I need to follow-up with you or with my initial dentist and oral health therapist?

Of course, your case will likely vary compared to other people’s.  However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be ready with a list of thoughtful questions.  If a secondary dental practitioner cannot answer your most pressing queries, you can seek a third or fourth opinion if you require more confidence.  There is no limit to the number of dental practitioners you can see!

What Happens Next?

dentist showing model teeth to a female patient

What happens after a second consultation will, of course, depend on the outcome.  In many cases, the best scenario will be that your second dentist agrees with the first.  This should give you the confidence you need to continue with treatment.  However, as mentioned, if a second opinion fails to help you, ask for another.  Multiple diagnoses can be concerning and there will be an eventual consensus between dental practitioners on treatments.

Do be aware that your second dentist and oral health therapist may recommend follow-ups or referrals back to your initial surgery.  If you do not feel comfortable attending your first clinic again, you must advise of such.  In these cases, it may be worthwhile considering changing y

our dental clinic.  If you find the care you receive at your second dentist and oral health therapist to be more beneficial, you may already be considering a switch, and you can do this without any restrictions – it’s completely up to you.

Otherwise, it is crucial to consider advice from both parties.  What do your dental practitioners agree on?  Do either of them suggest any specific treatment, or that any kind of risk may arise?  Don’t always be so quick to lead with your second opinion over the first.  In some cases, you may even find your first consultation actually clarifies the answers you require!


You should never worry about looking for a second opinion when it comes to dental care.  The treatment you deserve will be a course that is comfortable, affordable, and which answers all your questions.  Everyone deserves this standard of care.

Finding a thoughtful and reliable second opinion starts with consulting local and leading dental practitioners.  Why not use our booking guide to get started?  Click here and book in with our dental team at Coburg Hill Oral Care at your convenience.