Making the most of your dental visit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — There are not too many people who actually enjoy going to the dentist. Of course, regular visits are important, but they can be stressful and quite expensive. But there are ways to save.

If you brush and floss regularly, you may not need more than a cleaning and a checkup.

But what if the dentist says you need something else?

Here are some ways to determine whether you really need that recommended procedure and if you should seek a second opinion.

“There’s a lot of gray area in dentistry, and there’s not always one right answer for a given problem,” said Catherine Roberts with Consumer Reports. “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 percent 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 a procedure.

Take a routine procedure like a filling. Replacing or repairing a filling can be important when they’re damaged, but be wary if your dentist recommends replacing them simply because they’re old.

“Age alone should not be the only reason for new fillings,” Roberts added. “So, push back if your dentist recommends replacing your fillings just because they’re old.”

If your dentist recommends a root canal, make sure they perform adequate testing, which may include X-rays and a sensitivity test.

And if your dentist recommends pulling a tooth, consider asking 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,” Roberts said. “So if your dentist recommends an extraction ask them to explain 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 site and be sure to ask for your records including X-rays to give to the second dentist.

If you do go elsewhere to get a second opinion, don’t tell or try to explain to the new dentist what the first opinion was so the new dentist can examine you and determine what’s best for you without any preconceived notions.

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