Are Cavities Easy to Find?

Dentist looking for cavitiesCavities (decay) can be a very elusive animal. There are some cavities that are very easy to spot. They are so large that they have done visual damage to a tooth and your dentist can find it without any type of machinery, just their eyes. However, some cavities are minimal at best, and are hiding deep in your tooth. That can make finding a cavity even with an x-ray nearly impossible.

Just because you have a cavity now, doesn’t mean that it recently appeared. Some cavities have slowly grown to where they can be found over a pretty significant period of time.

Options Dentists Have for Finding Cavities

The first thing your dentist is going to use to spot a cavity is their eyes. They typically use their eyes in conjunction with a few tools that are used to poke around your mouth looking for soft spots in your teeth, and discoloration that are typical with tooth decay. They often use a mirror an a dental tool called an explorer as well, to inspect the hard to see areas.

Next, they have x-rays. These show some areas of decay, but they need to be either relatively large, or they need to be in between the teeth to be easily seen. There are areas that are going to show up on an x-ray as a shadow, but they may not be a cavity, so this is not always conclusive, either. The experience of the dentist will determine just how expert he/she is in detecting decay on an x-ray. Today we have digital x-rays that allow the dentist to find decay more readily.

Finally, some dentists are using laser waves to detect changes in the density of the tooth. This device is call the Diagnodent. We have been using this at The Center for Cosmetic Dentistry for quite some time to evaluate potentially decayed areas.  We are having very good luck finding cavities sooner with this new technology.

If you want to make sure your mouth is free of cavities, go in and see your dentist every six months. That way, they can keep a close eye out for the early signs of cavities. The earlier we find the decay the easier the fix and the more predictable the restoration.

Please contact our office today if you have any questions about cavities.

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