When Doctors Disagree, Who Should You Believe?
Medicine is a science, right? Studied and perfected over time? If that’s the case, then why do doctors so often disagree? The differ in their diagnoses, in their treatments, and in their interpretations of the research. Dentistry is no different.
Dentists disagree all the time. One dentist may recommend a filling while one says you need an onlay. One may say you need a bridge while one recommends an implant. We have even had patients who were told they had cavities that we couldn’t find, even with a 3D scan.
At The Center for Natural Dentistry, we disagree with a lot of what traditional dentists believe and how they practice. For instance, we choose not to use mercury fillings with our patients. We believe in advanced diagnostics so we can better plan accurate treatment, we use metal-free implants, etc.
So why do dentists disagree… and who should you believe? Well the first question is easy. The second one is up to you?
Why do Dentists Disagree?
Dentists disagree for a variety of reasons. First off, dentists are trained all over the world and are at different stages of their careers. Many were taught a long time ago by dentists who were trained even farther back. The teachers learned one way and passed that on to the students, who take it as gospel because they learned it in college. Which is fine… until new research comes out and they refuse to believe the “new gospel.”
There is also a fear among some dentists that if they change the way they practice, they are admitting that they were wrong with past patients. For example: if a doctor has used mercury fillings for years, then learns that mercury isn’t safe, he or she could be concerned that changing the way they practice is like admitting fault to all the patients that received mercury fillings in the past. So instead, they just keep doing things they way they always have and insist that its the correct way to practice.
The 3rd common reason dentists disagree is due to research. Namely, that many people don’t want to spend the time researching something they learned a long time ago, choosing instead to simply carry on as if nothing ever changes. If you don’t pick up magazines, ask questions, read journals, you would never know that things change.
So Who do You Believe?
Dentists disagree. So do patients. And that’s the beauty: you have a choice! We don’t spend time trying to “convert” dentists or patients into believing in holistic dentistry. If they — or you — have questions, we will answer them based on our knowledge, research, and beliefs. But we don’t bash other dentists or belittle patients for choosing a different path. If you believe dentistry should take a more progressive approach, then you may choose to believe a holistic dentist. If you believe in more traditional dental practices, there are plenty of dentists for you to believe.
The best approach is to seek multiple opinions and ask your dentist or your doctor a lot of questions. Research their answers on your own (if they get upset about answering so many questions, maybe you should find another dentist or doctor!) and make a decision based on your informed opinion.
Never assume that anything and everything a doctor says is 100% right. Doctors are people and they make their own decisions based on their (hopefully) well-informed opinion and their education and training. But if you don’t like the options, ask questions until you’re satisfied — or until you decide that you need to find a different dentist.