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Old 07-11-2019, 09:11 AM
 
Location: City Data Land
15,766 posts, read 9,149,328 times
Reputation: 30944

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I went to the dentist yesterday a few weeks after getting metal braces off. I'm in my early 40s and very conscientious about brushing and flossing, so much so the dentist commented on how clean my teeth were. After the exam and X-rays, he said that my X-rays were clear but I had a small cavity in one of my lower back teeth and that "only large cavities show up on X-ray." I made the appointment for the filling but afterwards I was skeptical about this information.

I wondered why the cavity didn't show up on X-ray but he could visualize it with the naked eye. Wouldn't it be the reverse; the X-ray would be more sensitive to seeing tiny cavities the dentist couldn't see and he would only be able to see large ones? I'm no dental expert but that seems more logical to me. I don't want to get an unnecessary filling because drilling on a healthy tooth isn't good for it. I haven't had a filling in over 10 years. I know I could get a second opinion but the price he quoted me was reasonable and I don't have dental insurance. Has anyone else heard this?
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:25 PM
 
1,538 posts, read 1,829,178 times
Reputation: 2339
An xray only shows damage done after the infection has taken its toll. Once it is large enough to be noticeable on an xray, it's actually bigger than it appears. There is no test in all of healthcare that is 100% accurate. You mention sensitivity but not specificity. Dental xrays have high specificity but not as good sensitivity. In other words, if the xray shows a cavity, you can bet it's really there. But if it does NOT show a cavity, then that doesn't mean it's not there.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensit...nd_specificity
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:50 PM
 
2,691 posts, read 1,419,662 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooby Snacks View Post

I wondered why the cavity didn't show up on X-ray but he could visualize it with the naked eye.

There are tiny cavities that don't yet show on x-ray, but a dental instrument called an explorer can be used to probe tooth surfaces to detect them. You know when the dentist is poking around in your mouth with a sharp instrument? That's what the dentist is doing, looking for tiny cavities with an explorer.

They may be visible as well.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:15 AM
 
Location: Edinburg
2 posts, read 539 times
Reputation: 10
Dental X-Rays are very vital in showing the infected and damaged part of tooth. It will only indicate the most infected part when it becomes visible. If you are sure that your cavity is not note worthy then you can avoid the idea of filling. But in case your dentist have suggested you for this then there must be some serious afflictions. Its your personal choice whether you want to go for filling or not.
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:23 AM
 
1 posts, read 197 times
Reputation: 10
Very nice Information for Dental Cavities
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Old 12-25-2019, 10:28 AM
 
84 posts, read 7,759 times
Reputation: 54
Dental x-rays shows the scan of infection and not the cavities. so do not be skeptical about it and get your dental job done.
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