Always Get a Second Opinion

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Getting a second opinion is always a good idea for most things. Here are some second opinions that have saved me:

You know those coupons that come in the mail for a discount on emissions and safety inspection? I usually use those to save some money, but sometimes they can end up costing more money in the end. Years ago we took our car in for a simple inspection and were given a list of things that needed to be fixed before it would pass. They of course wanted to fix everything and charge us several hundred dollars. We took our car to another place that said we didn't need to fix most of the things on the list and they charged a lot less too.

Last year we took our mini van in to a different place with a coupon for a simple inspection. We were given a long list of things that should be fixed, but they still passed our van without them being fixed. They wanted about $500 to flush the transmission, put in a new air filter, and a few other things that he highly recommend we do. We were sent a letter each week from this mechanic reminding us of what needed to be done.

My DH bought a new air filter for a few dollars and put it in himself. We took our van into a reputable mechanic that we trusted for the other things. He said the only thing that needed to be done was the transmission flush, but the other stuff would actually be bad on the van and he didn't recommend them. He even explained how he does the transmission flush in 2 parts and how it is better on the vehicle than normal transmission flushes. The total cost for the transmission flush was $75.

By getting a second opinion from another mechanic we saved about $400.
Lesson learned: Most of those mechanics that send out coupons need your business and are not always honest. Really good mechanics have enough business that they don't need coupons and you often have to schedule an appointment to get in.

A dentist has the power to make your life a lot better or ruin you for life. Back before we had decent dental insurance we didn't have very many options for dentists. My DH has had to have a couple of root canals due to poor dentistry. It would have been cheaper and less painful to pay for a good dentist out of our own pockets and not need the root canals later on. I also had a young inexperienced dentist chip the back off of my front tooth while drilling another tooth for a cavity. That tooth is forever sensitive now.

Several years ago I took my kids to a pediatric dentist. He said my son needed a cavity filled, but while he was filling the cavity he drilled into another tooth and said that it needed to be filled also. I think he was just drilling for more money personally. The same pediatric dentist looked at my 2 year old daughters front tooth and said that it was slightly discolored and needed to be pulled out. He wanted to fit her with a retainer with a fake tooth until her permanent one came in about 5-7 years later! He said if he didn't pull out her tooth that the permanent tooth would come in damaged and a dark brown-black color. The total cost to me after insurance was around $700 not to mention the trauma this would cause a 2 year old.

By this time I had good dental insurance and had a wonderful dentist for myself. I took my daughter to get a second opinion from my dentist and he said she didn't need her tooth pulled out. He said that it would cause more damage to pull her tooth out since her other teeth wouldn't have the resistance of that tooth in place. I stopped seeing that pediatric dentist and have been taking my kids to see my dentist ever since. Now that my daughter is 8, her front teeth are beautiful. No damage happened from leaving her tooth in.

Ophthalmologist (Eye Dr.):
When my daughter went to kindergarten she failed the eye test just barely. I found an ophthalmologist and took her in expecting to get a prescription for glasses. Instead he diagnosed her with amblyopia (lazy eye) and she had to wear a full time eye patch with glasses for a year (her kindergarten year). I felt like I should get a second opinion, but didn't.

3 years later I decided to have my 11 year old son's eyes checked since he was having head aches. The same Dr. diagnosed my son with amblyopia and wanted him in glasses and an eye patch. He then wanted me to make an appointment for my 2 year old since he was likely to have the same problem. This is when I put my foot down and got a second opinion. I found an expert in children's eyes, a pediatric ophthalmologist and took my son in. He told me that my son had 20/20 vision and didn't even need glasses. A few weeks later I took my daughter in and was told that she doesn't have amblyopia and he gave her a different prescription (less strong) than what she had been wearing for the last 3 years. If I would have just paid the $35 to have a second opinion 3 years ago, my daughter wouldn't have had to wear an eye patch to kindergarten. I look back at pictures of her wearing her patch and just want to cry.

It is always a good idea to get a second opinion, even if it does cost you time and money for the second opinion you will save in the end. I have learned my lesson.

What experiences have you had?


  1. Some very good advise. I hate that there are other people and businesses in the world out to make a dollar so badly that they will do it no matter what.

  2. I am so glad you talked about dentists... my husband is a dentist and has his father as a mentor until he retires. His Dad has continued his education in his field by spending thousands and thousands of dollars on classes and courses about throughout his career. So when he loses a whole family to another cheaper dentist who takes no contiuning education its hard!

  3. I have learned my lesson and gladly pay more for a good qualified dentist. My dentist actually does charge more than most, but he is so worth it. I know I am saving money and pain in the long run. I wish all dentists could be like your husband and father-in-law.

  4. Yikes! That dentist story is scary and I can relate. When my daughter was 2, the dentist wanted to pull her front two teeth since the were terribly discolored and starting to deteriorate due to medication she took as a baby. I did receive a second opinion from another dentist who said that pulling teeeth from a child that young could interfere with their mouth palate and speech. She had resin crowns (tooth colored) placed on her teeth to preserve her teeth, speech and smile. People are too polite and assume that the first bit of advise/opinion is true....question it. If they were/are a reputable professional, they would encourage you to get a second opinion.

  5. Hi Jen, I too had a strange experience with a dentist. I was the child. My mom took be to a dentist that said I have 5 cavities that needed to be filled. We couldn't afford it, so she sent me to my dad's dentist (they were divorced). I got done with my cleaning and then asked him when I needed to come back in for the cavities. He said, "what cavities?" Uuurgh! That dentist was going to rip my mom off and put 5 metal fillings in my mouth...they didn't have white back then. Scarey!

    Btw, in response to your question about my husband and the raw lasagna. I have only made it twice. The first time he liked it so I knew I could make it again. He isn't pickey. He prefers meat, but if he's hungry, he will eat. And he grew up farming with his parents, so he actually likes vegetables!

  6. A second opinion on plumbing work is always good.

  7. Yep, the dentist thing happened to us, too. Ours wanted to pull SIX BABY TEETH from my son's mouth, because he said they would cause the permanent teeth to come in crooked. I said I wanted to give him a month to try to get them out on his own (he's 11). He got three out, and in a month, they pulled the other three.
    I very much regret this. I ended up switching to another dentist partly because of this, and partly because this one also refused to let parents back in the exam room, and instead made them wait in the waiting room, even after I asked fairly insistently.
    Anyways. Great post. It IS often a very good idea to get a 2nd opinion, and this post helped me feel less self-conscious about doing so. Thank you!

  8. Aw, I'm sorry you had to go thru that... It's a lot of trauma on the whole family, isn't it? We've gone through similar before, and it makes you second guess any service you pay for. Money sure can make people do evil things, and unfortunately, you have to educate yourself so you avoid getting 'duped'. Just remember, what goes around, comes around. I wish everyone thought of that before they take advantage of someone else. :| I was formally a dental assistant (now a SAHM) and could try to help you if you need advice again. Although, it is usually best to get another Dr's opinion.(I loved having worked for a few great Dr's, they were very conservative in their treatments. Best rule of thumb- go old school! Dont' get caught up in the glitz and glam of the dental world, those Dr's are out to make money, and that's all!) Take care and Good luck!