When we make purchases of big or small items, we often do comparison shopping to find the best deal. The same practice should apply when it comes to making health care decisions.
Because I have had unpleasant experiences with doctors and I like to read about the problems we have with the health care system, I am skeptical about what doctors tell me to do. I would like to get a second opinion if possible.
Recently my son’s dentist recommended a visit to an orthodontic specialist to get his teeth evaluated. His teeth are crowded together and two of the adult teeth need to be removed because they have no space to grow into.
We got a referral to an orthodontic specialist near Woodbury. I thought, great, it is pretty close to my house and I don’t have to drive far which is always a super plus for me.
So we went for the initial consultation last month. After a visual check and examing the x-ray copy I brought that was taken recently by the dentist, we were told what needed to be done immediately – schedule the next appointment with them to do the diagnostic records, take two teeth out, put in full braces, with an estimated cost of $5000-6000, not including removing the teeth.
The assistant was very nice in explaining things when I asked questions regarding how to defer payment if I wanted to take advantage of the health care spending account from next year. She was accomodating to my needs and wishes and wanted me to make the appointment.
But I had a different plan. I had scheduled with another orthodontist, Dr. Robert E. Eng on Ruth Street in St. Paul whom my son used a few years ago. He is a nice doctor and I liked him. I wanted to hear his opinion.
We had our visit today. I was glad I did.
Dr. Eng recommended to have my son’s two teeth removed, but there is no rush to put in braces. We should wait and see. His remaining teeth are not prefect, but not in bad shape either.
When he told me we needed to come back to do the diagnostic records before the teeth can be removed, I asked him why. “Isn’t that already clear? Why do we need any more x-rays and diagnosis?”
He told me: “It is not necessary from my perspective, but that’s what’s required to do. I can’t tell your dentist to do something without providing the diagnositic records.”
He totally agreed with me. We are doing a lot of things that are not necessary but are required. That’s what drives our health care cost high.
Dr. Eng said he would make a recommendation to my son’s dentist to have his teeth removed. Maybe we can get by without more x-rays and diagnosis.
I really like this doctor for his honesty and integrity. I didn’t feel that he put his own interest ahead of his patient’s interest as I felt with some other doctors.
Even if we need to do the diagnostic records before removing the teeth, I am more than happy to go back to Dr. Eng, event though his location is not as convenient and his office is not as new as the other one, but that’s all fine with me.
I am really glad that I sought out the second opinion. It helps to make a wiser decision.