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Member
Apr 10, 2019
499 posts
1026 upvotes
Ottawa

Dentist 2nd opinion

Has anyone ever gotten a 2nd opinion for dental work? How did you go about it?

Disclaimer: I have no insurance.

I went to see a new dentist as mine moved to the other end of the city a few years back and I told them that didn't work for me so cancelled my scheduled appointments. I was somewhat negligent and even though I went to the old dentist religiously every 6 months I had not been to one for a few years. I did the examination, 4 types of x-rays, full cleaning and whatever else and that came out to $500. Then she shows up and goes through a laundry list of things I need fixed, 5 gum grafts (2 urgent @ 1400 per), 3 cavities, 1 urgent at $3xx.

So I called around for a 2nd opinion. I was very open that I simply wanted a 2nd opinion. Every dentist I called wants to do a full examination, new x-rays ect. for $300-400. I can have them order the x-rays from the other dentist but then I think I'm blackballed with the other dentist if the new one is worse.

I know they don't work for free but could there not be a way to pay $100 for 10 a minute estimate before dropping $3000 for "urgent" problems? I recall a Marketplace episode from years ago and I don't want to get taken to the cleaners (no pun intended lol).
13 replies
Deal Addict
Jul 26, 2004
4676 posts
1754 upvotes
Seems like a trust issue here. If you trust your old dentist who moved... just make the trip and get his/her opinion. Some dentist are "Aggressive" when it comes to treatment planning. But there is a line that separates aggressive treatment planning and unethical treatment planning. I'd believe most dentist in Canada is ethical enough that they won't do treatment that are unjustified. Always ask questions and see if their answers set off your BS meter. Unfortunately it'll be tough to get away from paying a fee if you want a second opinion unless you have some good personal rapport with a dentist. Go back to your old dentist, since he knows you, maybe he'll give you some slack.
Deal Addict
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Apr 2, 2010
2416 posts
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GTA


For easy reference to the CBC article.

Sorry I don't know personally about dentists but thought I would share the link.
Sr. Member
May 6, 2010
868 posts
282 upvotes
Richmond Hill
1984 Siemens Canadian assembled xray in the video. Lol!
But overall its very expensive to run dental office, so you will be billed one or another.
It is unfortunate, too many offices are popping up, foreign trained dentists are coming in fresh out of school, costs are rising and everyone needs expensive procedures to stay afloat.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 2, 2005
1927 posts
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I'm not denying dentists have expenses that are rising but mines driving a g wagon so I'm not sure they are barely staying afloat...
Jr. Member
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Oct 21, 2013
148 posts
52 upvotes
Tyrannosaurland
Go back to your old dentist and have him repair your defects.
When it's time for your next cleaning, go find a new dentist and refer her to your old dentist for x-ray records, etc.
I did that and now have a dentist 5 minutes away instead of travelling for 2 hours round trip to the old dentist.
Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
Sr. Member
May 6, 2010
868 posts
282 upvotes
Richmond Hill
RAINMAN0 wrote: I'm not denying dentists have expenses that are rising but mines driving a g wagon so I'm not sure they are barely staying afloat...
established are, newer and who bought existing practice not so much (well not starving, of course).
Deal Guru
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Aug 20, 2012
13683 posts
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Pacific Ocean
GrumpyOne1 wrote:
I know they don't work for free but could there not be a way to pay $100 for 10 a minute estimate before dropping $3000 for "urgent" problems? I recall a Marketplace episode from years ago and I don't want to get taken to the cleaners (no pun intended lol).
If you don't wanna be a doctor under the OHIP system - go be a dentist. These guys nickel and dime everything and charge the max as long as the insurance companies allow it. Now some dentists give different rates for insurance patients vs cash patients. Cash patients are little cheaper. BUT your implication is right - it's a money making sales job. They try to find every little thing and scare you with the details as to what can/would happen over time - even if that is decades away. lol. My dental hygienist tried the sales job thing on me. Kept picking at a little spot on my back molar - said it was smaller than the width of her medical instrument which is needle thin - then quickly calls the dentist in. Says it's a tiny, tiny beginnings of a cavity. Without even looking at me or asking ME.. he puts down $175 charge to fill the tooth in. Says we can do this right after your next cleaning. Takes 15 min... or you can make it a separate appt if that's convenient. I thought WTF. I said so it's the same charge whether it's a large cavity or tiny little thing. "Yes, that's right." Immediately I said let me think about it. I will monitor it. If it gets worse I will do it. Felt zero pain, sensitivity or anything. Sometimes cavities can take years to cause any damage or pain. I'm telling you these peeps make fists of cash left and right. He drives a high-end Mercedes. There ya go... His wife who works the admin desk just told me to get an electric toothbrush. Much better than manual brushing and helps prevents the cavity from increasing in size. lol.
If the glove don't fit you must acquit! #WINNING
Member
Jun 22, 2014
488 posts
176 upvotes
Markham, ON
Do you have a dental school within a reasonable distance to you?

They usually have practical clinics that are significantly more affordable if you are comfortable with a student working on you under supervision, or for your case to be held in a teaching environment.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 12, 2009
5337 posts
2834 upvotes
Toronto
aznnorth wrote: . I said so it's the same charge whether it's a large cavity or tiny little thing. "Yes, that's right."
FYI, fillings are typically billed by the number of surfaces involved.
Think of it like seasonal tire swaps. If they are swapping 4 tires it is the same rate, it don't matter if it is 4, 5, or 6 lugs per wheel. Got a dually pick up, expect to pay more.
It is the same receptionist time, room prep, instrument sterilization, etc.
Why do you feel it should be any different?
Sr. Member
User avatar
Dec 23, 2015
918 posts
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GrumpyOne1 wrote: Has anyone ever gotten a 2nd opinion for dental work? How did you go about it?

Disclaimer: I have no insurance.

I went to see a new dentist as mine moved to the other end of the city a few years back and I told them that didn't work for me so cancelled my scheduled appointments. I was somewhat negligent and even though I went to the old dentist religiously every 6 months I had not been to one for a few years. I did the examination, 4 types of x-rays, full cleaning and whatever else and that came out to $500. Then she shows up and goes through a laundry list of things I need fixed, 5 gum grafts (2 urgent @ 1400 per), 3 cavities, 1 urgent at $3xx.

So I called around for a 2nd opinion. I was very open that I simply wanted a 2nd opinion. Every dentist I called wants to do a full examination, new x-rays ect. for $300-400. I can have them order the x-rays from the other dentist but then I think I'm blackballed with the other dentist if the new one is worse.

I know they don't work for free but could there not be a way to pay $100 for 10 a minute estimate before dropping $3000 for "urgent" problems? I recall a Marketplace episode from years ago and I don't want to get taken to the cleaners (no pun intended lol).
If you need 3k+ worth of work done I would be doing a search for "dental tourism". Canadian dentists are exceedingly well compensated. Either find a dentist that is willing to negotiate or take a vacation just about anywhere and it will work out cheaper or the same cost as getting the work done here.
.
Sr. Member
May 6, 2010
868 posts
282 upvotes
Richmond Hill
I work in the industry, lately dental tourism died down due to Covid.
It was indeed viable option few years ago.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Dec 23, 2015
918 posts
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Possum77 wrote: I work in the industry, lately dental tourism died down due to Covid.
It was indeed viable option few years ago.
I'm sure it has . I know my local dentist's business is way down too.
.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 13, 2007
4226 posts
3095 upvotes
Edmonton
GrumpyOne1 wrote: Has anyone ever gotten a 2nd opinion for dental work? How did you go about it?

Disclaimer: I have no insurance.

I went to see a new dentist as mine moved to the other end of the city a few years back and I told them that didn't work for me so cancelled my scheduled appointments. I was somewhat negligent and even though I went to the old dentist religiously every 6 months I had not been to one for a few years. I did the examination, 4 types of x-rays, full cleaning and whatever else and that came out to $500. Then she shows up and goes through a laundry list of things I need fixed, 5 gum grafts (2 urgent @ 1400 per), 3 cavities, 1 urgent at $3xx.

So I called around for a 2nd opinion. I was very open that I simply wanted a 2nd opinion. Every dentist I called wants to do a full examination, new x-rays ect. for $300-400. I can have them order the x-rays from the other dentist but then I think I'm blackballed with the other dentist if the new one is worse.

I know they don't work for free but could there not be a way to pay $100 for 10 a minute estimate before dropping $3000 for "urgent" problems? I recall a Marketplace episode from years ago and I don't want to get taken to the cleaners (no pun intended lol).
Yea, I got a second opinion for an issue I had. I am in Alberta, not sure if it makes a difference. There is a lot of advertising here and competition.

I was lucky and came across an ad or flyer, can’t recall, for a dentist in my area offering free second opinions. I was only charged for the x-ray on the tooth.

You shouldn’t worry about being blackballed as any dentist worth his salt should be open to a second opinion. If I recall correctly, my original dentist even said I could get a second opinion if I want to.

It is true that you will find dentists who suggest aggressive treatment where none might be necessarily required.

This is very common with wisdom teeth. Some dentists don’t give it a second thought and recommend extraction regardless of any other factors while some will be happy to monitor for actual necessity.

Your best bet is getting on the phone to find out pricing for second opinions. It is a good way to acquire new business so you may stumble on a deal or get lucky with no charge.

Your dentist should be able to forward x-ray copies to the second dentist instantly by computer.

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