Is A Second Opinion on Cavities Necessary? (Expert Advice)

Dr. Matthew Hannan | My Dental Advocate
Is a Second Opinion on Cavities Necessary Heres What You Need to Know | My Dental Advocate

According to a recent study, 90% of adults have had a cavity before, and 1 in 4 adults currently have an untreated cavity.

But when should you seek a second opinion?

As a dentist, I have seen many patients who have questions about their treatment options for cavities.

This article discusses the benefits, risks, and when it may be necessary to get a second opinion on cavities from a dentist’s perspective.

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[icon type=”fas fa-arrow-right” color=”#5d9ee1″] Recommended Reading: Dental Second Opinion | The Ultimate Guide

Is A Second Opinion Necessary?

Getting a second opinion on cavities is an important decision that can significantly impact oral health.

Cavities are one of the most common dental problems, and if left untreated, they can lead to more severe issues such as needing a root canal or tooth loss.

I’ve seen countless patients for a second opinion in my clinical practice.

Most patients have been cavity-free for years before learning they need a filling from their dentist. This comes as a shock; before treating it, they desire confirmation from another dentist.

While it’s always best to get treatment from your regular dentist, getting a second opinion can help ensure that you’re getting the best care for your teeth.

For example, if an unbiased dentist disagrees with the original dentist’s finding, you may not need a filling. Cavities range in severity and are indicated by distinct stages.

A cavity localized in the enamel has a chance to “heal,” whereas a cavity that has progressed into the dentin is less likely to heal over time.

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Why Get A Second Opinion?

Sometimes, cavities can be misdiagnosed or overlooked. In these cases, a second opinion can provide additional insight and ensure you receive the proper treatment.

This can give you peace of mind and ensure your dental health is in good hands.

Seeing another dentist allows for alternative dental procedure options. Different dentists may have different approaches to treating cavities.

A second opinion can help you understand the pros and cons of other options and make an informed decision about your care. This can help you choose a treatment plan best suited to your needs, lifestyle and budget.

Some cavities may require specialized treatment, such as hard-to-reach or painful areas. In these cases, a second opinion from another dentist may be indicated.

Cavities localized in the enamel can remineralize with prescription-strength toothpaste, fluoride trays and oral hygiene improvements. I’ve seen countless patients remineralize cavities following this protocol.

[icon type=”fas fa-arrow-right” color=”#5d9ee1″] Recommended Reading: 5 Benefits of a Dental Second Opinion (Dentist’s Perspective)

Cavity under fillings | My Dental Advocate

Risks of Getting A Second Opinion

  • Additional Costs: Seeking a second opinion may raise treatment expenses. Check with your insurance to see if it’s covered.
  • Delayed Treatment: Waiting for another opinion can lead to treatment delays, risking cavity progression and impacting other teeth.
  • Risk of Confusion: A second opinion might uncover new issues, potentially causing more confusion and frustration.

When to Seek A Second Opinion

A second opinion can also be beneficial if you have a complex medical history or multiple dental issues.

A second opinion can help you understand the relationship between your medical history and dental health and ensure you get the best possible care.

For example, treating periodontal disease should be the priority if you are diagnosed as needing a dental implant but also have periodontal disease (gum disease).

In addition, if you failed to seek a second opinion and the implant was placed, harmful bacteria from gum disease can attack the implant site and cause the implant to fail.

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A second opinion can also be helpful if you are uncomfortable with your dentist or have concerns about their expertise or communication.

In addition, a second opinion can provide a fresh perspective and help you find a dentist with whom you feel comfortable and can communicate effectively.

For example, if your dentist doesn’t offer alternative treatment options and you are strapped for cash, a second opinion may provide alternative treatment options for your budget.

Cavities are highly preventable and difficult to treat if left unaccounted. Let’s take a closer look at cavity statistics for perspective.

Cavity Statistics

  • Prevalence of Cavities: 91% of adults have experienced a cavity.
  • Decayed or Missing Teeth: Adults aged 20-64 average 3.28 decayed or missing teeth.
  • Highest Decay in Older Adults: Adults 50-64 years show the highest decay rate at 96%.
  • Impact of Smoking: Decay is more common in current smokers than non-smokers or former smokers.
  • Untreated Decay: 1 in 4 adults aged 20-64 have untreated cavities.
  • Higher Risk Groups: Black and Mexican American adults, younger individuals, those with lower income or education, and current smokers are more likely to have untreated decay.

MDA Verification Report

What is the My Dental Verification Report, and why is it important?

Our board-certified dentists will review your case and provide an unbiased second opinion on how you should move forward with your proposed dental treatment.

We respect all dentists suggested treatment; however, we desire clarity for your dental needs. You should understand what dental work is necessary to move forward with treatment confidently.

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How We Help

  • Avoid unnecessary dental treatment
  • Potentially save you thousands of dollars
  • Information reviewed privately and securely
  • Unbiased assessment that brings you peace of mind
  • Quick response time to review the report at your convenience
  • Clarity and confidence moving forward with dental treatment
  • Completed from the comfort of your own home

What’s Involved?

With My Dental Advocate, patients of all ages now have an unbiased, expert second opinion to securely review their proposed dental treatment and gain the knowledge to improve their oral health.

Step 1: Complete Questionnaire

The questionnaire includes a brief medical history, oral hygiene habits, and an opportunity to explain your dental concerns.

Step 2: Upload X-rays

Contact your provider to request your x-rays or take a photo of them at the office. You can also upload dental photos, current treatment plans, periodontal probings, and other supporting documents.

Step 3: Submit Payment

We will privately send your information to a board-certified dentist who will securely assess your case and provide a detailed second opinion for your proposed dental work.

Step 4: Receive MDA Verification Report

We will email your MDA Verification Report second opinion within hours for review at your convenience and from the comfort of your home.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Yes, some risks include additional costs and delayed treatment. It’s crucial to weigh the benefits and risks before seeking a second opinion and only do so when necessary.

A second opinion can confirm a diagnosis, explore alternative treatment options, and provide insight from a specialist. It can also give you peace of mind and ensure that you are getting the best possible care.

You can ask for recommendations from your current dentist or primary care physician, research online or search for a specialist in your area. It’s crucial to find a reputable and qualified dentist who you feel comfortable with and can communicate effectively with.

My Experience & Expertise

Cavities are a common dental issue, but seeking a second opinion can provide additional insight and ensure you receive the proper treatment.

However, it is important to weigh the benefits and risks and only seek a second opinion when necessary.

As a dentist, I always recommend that my patients communicate openly with me and ask any questions they may have about their treatment options.

Need a second opinion? We can help! Learn more. Knowledge is power when cultivating healthy dental habits. The more informed you are, the better positioned you’ll be to prevent avoidable and potentially costly dental procedures for you and your family. Watch for future blog posts, where we’ll continue sharing important information, product reviews and practical advice!


About the Author

Dr. Matthew Hannan, also known as “Dr. Advocate,” is a board-certified dentist on a mission to provide accurate dental patient education. He attended Baylor University before completing dental school at UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry. He now lives in Arizona with his beautiful wife and 4 kids. Dr. Hannan believes everyone should access easy-to-read dental resources with relevant, up-to-date dental research and insight to improve their oral health.

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