Importance of Second Opinions for Orthodontic Treatment

BUFFALO GROVE, ILLINOIS – We often don’t think twice about seeking estimates from multiple contractors when doing a home renovation, or from several printers when having a brochure printed.

We encourage patients to view orthodontic treatment recommendations with the same scrutinizing eye, particularly when those recommendations have not come from an orthodontist.

Why? Because while all orthodontists are dentists, not all dentists are orthodontists. An orthodontist completes an additional two to three years of education after graduating from dental school, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. This training is geared specifically toward addressing the growth and development of the maxillofacial complex, alignment, and bite issues. It is done through an accredited orthodontic residency program.

“You trust your heart to a cardiologist and your skin to a dermatologist,” the AAO site states. “Like these specialists who study their specialties after their general medical education, orthodontists devote additional years to orthodontic study. Like their medical counterparts, orthodontists limit their practices to their area or specialty. Orthodontists have extensive experience in orthodontic care. They use their knowledge and skills to help you get the best results possible.”

Dr. Yan Razdolsky, a Buffalo Grove Invisalign and SureSmile provider, offers continuing education courses about orthodontics to area dentists and staff at dentistry practices from throughout Illinois.

“Many dentists are quite good at offering Invisalign treatment to patients with minor alignment issues,” Dr. Razdolsky says. “But for more serious issues, it typically makes sense to consult with a specialist.”

Our office occasionally gets calls from new patients who have been told by their dentist or another orthodontist that they will need multiple tooth extractions or jaw surgery for their orthodontic treatment.

“People don’t like to hear about having healthy teeth removed or undergoing extensive surgery that will result in time away from work and extensive hospital bills, so it makes sense that they would seek a second opinion,” Dr. Razdolsky says.

A patient recently came to us for a second opinion after her dentist recommended veneers instead of orthodontics.

“While orthodontics will take longer than veneers to achieve the desired results, it is a much more conservative approach,” Dr. Razdolsky says. “With some patience, you can have beautifully aligned teeth naturally through orthodontic treatment without removing portions of healthy tooth surfaces to make room for porcelain veneers.”

We offer free orthodontic evaluations at our office that include a complete work-up, X-rays and a treatment plan recommendation for you or your child based on medical necessity and what is best in terms of treatment

“You’re never wrong in seeking a second opinion,” he says, adding, “Parents should never feel pressured to begin treatment if they have reservations.”

We are happy to answer questions or concerns, and if one provider recommended something that we did not find necessary, we will take the time to explain our reasoning. We want patients to be happy and confident, whether it’s their second or fourth opinion.

There is no hard and fast rule about which treatment plans or procedures shouldn’t be done without a second opinion. But these are some guidelines that might help you:

When to get a second opinion

  • It has been recommended that you have multiple teeth extracted before beginning orthodontic treatment
  • You have been told a smile makeover that includes veneers or dental implants would treat your condition better than orthodontics
  • You are unsure if the treatment recommended is necessary
  • You are concerned about cost
  • You feel your dentist or orthodontist is not qualified to treat your problem
  • It has been recommended that you have jaw surgery

When you go in for a second opinion, speak with the orthodontist about your concerns and find out if he or she sees the same problems the first dental professional saw. Have the doctor outline the treatment plan as well as the cost and go from there.

“Weighing your options can help ensure you make an educated decision,” Dr. Razdolsky says. “It’s important to remember this is about your dental health, and that’s not something to take lightly.”

Case study:

Patient came in to our office with a chief concern of upper and lower protrusion of the front teeth and mobile lower incisors. Her family dentist, instead of recommending orthodontic consultation prior to dental work have performed root canal therapy and a crown on upper right second bicuspid. Now the tooth with a root canal and a crown needs to be extracted for orthodontic reasons since we need the space to retract the front teeth and to reduce their protrusion.