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Can a dentist miss a cavity during a dental exam?

Heres what happened. I have been seeing the same dentist for four years.

Three months ago I went for a routine exam. He said I was fine and had a good checkup.

I was scared to look at my top teeth with a mirror behorehand.

Finally when I got home that day, I looked and I spotted a dark spot on the grooves of my last upper back molar.

I spotted this dark spot about 2 hours after my dentist appointment.

Can a dentist miss a cavity during an exam?

Or is the dark spot not a cavity?

My dentist does not use an explorer to check each tooth. He just looks at each tooth with a dental mirror without using an explorer. But the dark spot was visible enough to spot, if I could even spot it on my own. It is in one of the pits on the molar

It has been three months now since my appointment and my teeth feel fine still.

What is going on?

3 Answers

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by (17.7m points)
Best answer

Of course a dentist can miss a cavity.

I'm not sure what you mean by an explorer--is that a word for a dental probe? If so, he has to "feel" the cavity, and it is certainly possible to miss something that way. As for looking with a mirror, well, people make mistakes. It happens. Even if he used x-rays, cavities just show as darker areas, and the dentist might think it is a result of the image, not an actual cavity. One more thing: even if he saw a cavity, a really small cavity is not worth filling. He may have seen it but decided it was too soon to worry about treating it.

Just keep going for regular check ups, and I'm sure he will catch it all eventually. And next time, just ask him about that spot.

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Dentist Missed Cavity

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