Jerry Garramone of Melbourne, Fla., was always told he had a healthy smile, so he found himself frowning when his new dentist handed him the number of an oral surgeon to get two of his teeth extracted.
“I wasn’t ready to make that call,” says the 65-year-old Angie’s List member. “I needed a second opinion — fast.”
After asking friends and checking Angie’s List, Garramone’s hunt to keep his teeth brought him to the office of Dr. Chris Edwards, a highly rated dentist in Viera, Fla., who told him he could save his teeth by using a microscope and water laser. “It’s a miracle,” says Garramone, who now sees Edwards for all his dental care.
While many patients may never question their dental care, Dr. Lawrence Spindel, a dentist in New York City, says some are choosing to seek a second opinion when they aren’t comfortable with their provider, the diagnosis, or their treatment options.
“If it’s not an emergency, it’s never a bad idea to get multiple opinions,” Spindel says. “This is especially true for dental patients since dentists tend to see mouths differently.”
More Angie’s List members search for and submit reviews on dentistry than any other health category, and the majority of reviews are positive.
However, some negative reports prompted us to conduct an online member poll that revealed that 44 percent of respondents say they wish they had sought a second opinion. But, 75 percent say they’ve never received one.
Dr. Mark Levy, a dentist with highly rated StoneRidge Dental Care in Gahanna, Ohio, offers second opinions and believes patients are just starting to increase their dental IQ and becoming less afraid to question the treatment their dentist proposes.
“They’re much more educated about dentistry,” says Levy, who ascribes the rise in patient enlightenment to the Internet. “They know what they’re looking for and will search until they find it.”
The differences in dentists can be attributed to their education, postgraduate work, diagnostic equipment and experiences, so seeking a second opinion can help a patient feel more confident they’re getting the treatment that’s best for them, says Dr. Leslie Seldin, consumer advisor and spokesman for the American Dental Association.
“Dentistry is both an art and a science,” he says. “There are many acceptable ways to approach the same problem. There’s no book that says, ‘This is the way things should be done.'”
Dr. Edwards graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and Temple University School of Dentistry. He completed a general practice residency at the Queens Medical Center in Honolulu. To reach Dr. Edwards you may call 321-751-7775 or visit www.SDICFL.com