Do dentists lie about cavities?

This blog post will address the topic, “do dentists lie about cavities?” and cover topics like do some dentists lie about cavities, is dentistry immune to scams, how to know that your dentist is scamming you and how to prevent yourself from dental scams.

Do dentists lie about cavities?

No, dentists do not lie about cavities. When they examine your oral cavity and suspect a cavity on any tooth, they have an x-ray done which clearly reveals the cavity present.

Dentists will show you the x-ray taken and explain to you about the cavities present on your teeth surface and also about their severity.

Based on the x-ray report, your dentist will recommend you a filling or maybe a root canal.

Hence, you may say that dentists are very transparent and ethical in this regard and will not lie about cavities.

Do some dentists lie about cavities?

Maybe or maybe not! Most of the time you will find dentists to be transparent and ethical in telling you about cavities.

When you do not have any pain or sensitivity and during a regular dental examination your dentist tells you that you have a small cavity, you may feel that your dentist is lying to you about cavities.

But you must know that small cavities can be deceptive and may even not appear on dental x-rays. According to research, for cavities to show up on x-rays, demineralisation should be at least 40% which is not the case with small cavities.

Hence, dentists may not lie about cavities and recommend you to get your small cavity filled to prevent further damage and save cost of root canal in the future.

Is Dentistry Immune To Scams?

No, dentistry is not immune to scams. High cost of treatment and varied advice on a particular condition is normal and should be expected as different dentists approach a particular case differently.

Insurance frauds make dentistry vulnerable to scams and scammers and are very difficult to identify. 

Sometimes it is seen that dentists recommend filling small cavities which could otherwise be reversed following good oral hygiene and a calcium rich diet.

How To Know That Your Dentist Is Scamming You?

It is not that easy to know whether your dentist is scamming you or not. However, the following are some signs that might alarm you regarding your dentist: 

  • Your dentist is not able to explain to you the reason for charging high fees.
  • Dentist is unable to explain why you need to get a small cavity filled when it can be reversed.
  • Explaining the diagnosis even without proper dental and oral examination.
  • Recommending a root canal without getting an x-ray done.
  • Not explaining to you about all the filling options you have and can choose from, according to your budget.
  • The online reviews about your dentist and their services are not good.

All above are the signs of a fraud dentist who may scam you and therefore you need to be cautious and visit a well reputed dental clinic nearby.

How To Prevent Yourself From Dental Scams?

To prevent yourself from dental scams, you need to be cautious about a few things:

  1. Talk to someone who had an early experience with the dentist you are planning to visit. A second opinion is crucial and will help immensely in safeguarding you against any scams.
  1. Check the reviews of the dentist and the services offered by their dental clinic online before making a visit. Be aware as few might have paid reviews.
  1. Only pay for the services you want to take and also make sure you are aware of the treatment rates in that area.
  1. Read about your symptoms online and be cautious that your dentist is not exaggerating about your condition and recommending you some costly treatments.
  1. Have beforehand knowledge about cavities, their filling process and about different filling material options you have.

What Is A Cavity And How Does It Form?

Dental Cavity or tooth cavity, is a hole that develops on the surface of the tooth due to loss of mineral content from the enamel, resulting from the repeated acid attack by the plaque bacteria.

When you see a hole in your teeth or darkening of the teeth, you must consult your dentist as it may be a cavity.

Consumption of sugary and starch rich foods expose the tooth to acids frequently, resulting in mineral loss from the enamel.

Infrequent tooth brushing habits cause poor oral hygiene, resulting in plaque accumulation.

Plaque is a sticky film containing bacteria that coats the protective enamel of your teeth. These bacteria produce acids by breaking down the food debris and the acids penetrate the enamel leading to formation of white spots on the teeth.

The cavity formation takes place in 5 stages:


  • Appearance of the white spots on the surface of the tooth as the mineral loss begins from enamel due to bacterial acid attack.
  • This stage can be reversed with preventive actions and maintaining good oral hygiene.


  • If the white spots are ignored and no preventive actions are initiated, the repeated acid attacks wear down the mineral and enamel is decayed
  • Visible hole is seen and now the cavity becomes irreversible.


  • The decay moves down further and attacks the inner soft dentin
  • This is called as Advanced Cavity Stage
  • Slight pain and sensitivity starts


  • In this stage, the decay finally reaches the pulp and irritates the nerves
  • Pain, sometimes excruciating, Sensitivity and Discomfort is seen in this stage.
  • Root Canal is the only treatment option other than extraction.


  • After pulp involvement, if treatment is not initiated, the infection spreads to the surrounding structures of the tooth and inflammation is caused
  • Extreme pain and even tooth loss may result

Signs & Symptoms That Tell You That You Have A Cavity

If you have a cavity, you might notice some of these signs and symptoms:

  • Holes in your teeth.
  • Sudden pain and sensitivity to drinking or eating something cold or hot.
  • Sensitivity on eating sweets or acidic drinks.
  • Pain on biting.
  • Fracturing of teeth upon normal biting.
  • Blackening or brown stains on teeth

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

  • Daily brushing twice following correct technique.
  • Brushing with a mild abrasive toothpaste containing fluoride.
  • Daily flossing
  • Occasional use of therapeutic mouthwash.
  • Oil pulling has shown potential to prevent cavities.
  • Keeping yourself hydrated.
  • Frequent munching on snacks must be avoided and if done, must be followed by brushing teeth with just water.
  • Diet rich in vegetables and foods with sufficient calcium and vitamin D.


This blog post addressed the topic, “do dentists lie about cavities”. We understood that some dentists lie about cavities, if dentistry is immune to scams, how to know that your dentist is scamming you and how to prevent yourself from dental scams. The article outlined details about a cavity, symptoms to recognise a cavity and various options of filling materials to choose from.


Do dentists misdiagnose cavities?

Yes, there is always a probability of misdiagnosis. Your dentist may sometimes under diagnose or over diagnose a cavity.

Small cavities and interproximal cavities are most commonly misdiagnosed.

Do cavities always show up on x-rays?

Yes, cavities do always show up on x-rays, once it has destroyed at least 40% of the enamel layer. However, the accuracy rate of detecting a cavity in its earliest stage is low.

Early detection of cavities depend on the location of the cavity as well as the accuracy and precision of the x-ray machine used.

Proximal cavities are hard to diagnose at the earliest and have an accuracy rate of less than 50% with panoramic x-ray technique as reported by a study.

Can You Tell If You Have A Cavity By Looking At It?

Yes, you can tell if you have a cavity by looking at it. A cavity looks like a hole on the tooth through which you may see the bottom of the tooth with the help of a dental mirror.

Dental Cavity or tooth cavity, is a hole that develops on the surface of the tooth due to loss of mineral content from the enamel, resulting from the repeated acid attack by the plaque bacteria.

When you see a hole in your teeth or darkening of the teeth, you must consult your dentist as it may be a cavity.

Can An X-Ray Miss A Cavity?

Yes, an x-ray can miss a cavity if it is in its early stages and has not yet caused 40% demineralisation of the enamel.

Sometimes, proximal cavities on the posterior teeth are also difficult to detect on x-rays during their early stages.

Can You Have A Cavity And Not See It?

Yes, sometimes you may have a cavity and not see it. The reasons may be that the cavity hole is very tiny or the cavity is still in its earliest stage and you miss the white spots on the tooth or maybe it is a proximal cavity on the posterior side.

Other FAQs about Teeth Cavities that you may be interested in.

Can Colgate remove cavities?

Can coconut oil heal cavities?

Can cavities just go away?


12 Warning Signs of a Bad Dentist | NewMouth

7 Proven Ways How to Tell If You Have a Cavity

Cavities – How to Tell if You Have One – WebMD

The Tooth Decay Process: How to Reverse It and Avoid a Cavity. (2018)

5 Amazingly Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Cavities. (2017)

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