Do dentists see bad teeth?

This blog post will address the topic, “Do dentists see bad teeth?” and cover topics like do dentists judge really bad teeth, can a dentist see tooth decay, do cavities always show up on x-rays, do dentists lie about cavities, 7 ways to tell if you have a cavity or not and how do you stop getting cavities.

Do Dentists See Bad Teeth?

Yes! Dentists do see bad teeth and if you are feeling embarrassed about your teeth condition, do not be ashamed or hesitant, dentists might have seen the worst.

Do Dentists Judge Really Bad Teeth?

No! Dentists are professionals and they are not interested in judging your teeth condition. All they are concerned about is your oral health and the best possible treatment they can give to restore your oral health conditions to normal.

Dentists are only concerned about delivering best services to their patients so that they leave the clinic pain-free and with a big smile.

Can A Dentist See Tooth Decay?

Yes! A dentist can see tooth decay during dental and oral examination as a black spot or black discolouration.

However, some cavities are too small to be seen through normal eyes. Such small cavities are clearly visible on radiographs.

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.

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.

7 Ways To Tell If You Have A Cavity Or Not

Clearly Visible Hole On Your Tooth

Cavity is a hole that can be seen or felt with the help of your tongue. Hole on your tooth or teeth is an indication that you might have a cavity formed.

Tooth Pain 

Pain in the tooth is an indication of cavity that has reached pulp. When cavity is ignored in its earliest stage, it deepens to enter dentin and finally enter pulp causing infection, resulting in pain.

If pain is felt in the tooth, it may be a cavity and you must consult your dentist.

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is an indication of cavity reaching dentin. 

When the cavity in its earliest stage is not repaired or filled or healed naturally through good oral hygiene and calcium rich foods, it deepens and reaches dentin.

On reaching dentin, the dentinal tubules are exposed and sensitivity develops on eating or drinking something hot or cold or sugary.

Tooth Darkening

If you see your tooth getting darker in color, it may be due to tooth decay or cavity.

When cavity exposes pulp tissue, bacterial invasion occurs and pulp gets infected. 

Infection in the pulp is manifested as excruciating pain, sensitivity and darkening of the tooth.

At this stage, consult your dentist or an endodontist to get a root canal done.

If the tooth infection has destroyed the entire tooth, then extraction may be the only option.

Tooth Abscess And Pus 

Sometimes you may not notice a hole or you may not initially experience pain or sensitivity or you may experience an occasional pain and sensitivity that might be ignored by you.

In any of the above case, you miss out on noticing a cavity, resulting in cavity deepening and finally causing tooth abscess and pus accumulation around the infected tooth.

Bad Breath

Persistent bad breath may be an indication of poor oral hygiene and cavity formation. 

Cavity that deepens and results in tooth infection, causes halitosis which does not go away even after mouthwash or brushing.

If you have persistent bad breath, you must consult your dentist for an oral examination.

Tooth Fracture

If you notice your tooth fractured suddenly or after eating any hard food, then it must have developed a cavity. 

Cavity weakens your tooth and it might not withstand the biting force and fracture.

How Do I Stop Getting Cavities?

Maintaining good oral and dental hygiene can help you to stop getting cavities. Good oral hygiene can be obtained through:

  • Tooth brushing twice daily – Brushing twice a day, once in the morning and once at night before going to bed, for two minutes is essential to prevent plaque build up and thereby prevent tooth decay.
  • Use Fluoride Toothpaste – Fluoride can greatly help achieve oral and dental health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay. Fluoride reduces the amount of acid produced by the bacteria on your mouth. 
  • Floss daily – According to a study, flossing is highly effective in reducing the interproximal caries risk. Daily floss can help stimulate your gums and reduce plaque leading to lesser inflammation risk.
  • Occasional use of therapeutic mouthwash containing active ingredients – Therapeutic mouthwashes as the name suggests have therapeutic action and control dental conditions like gingivitis, tooth decay and periodontal diseases. 
  • Oil Pulling – A study concluded oil pulling using coconut oil to be an effective procedure in decreasing plaque formation and plaque induced gingivitis. Similarly other studies have also found oil pulling to be an effective and safe procedure to reduce plaque accumulation and thus heal small cavities naturally.
  • Eat Foods Rich In Calcium, Magnesium And Phosphorus – Calcium and magnesium plays an important role in enamel remineralization and saliva production. Calcium rich foods like cauliflower, nuts, salmon and figs, helps in optimal saliva production that acts as a natural cleanser and prevents plaque accumulation and thus cavity formation.
  • Vitamin D rich diet or vitamin D supplements prevent cavities from forming – According to research, children with vitamin D deficiency had an increased risk of developing enamel defects and tooth fracture. Another clinical trial reported vitamin D to be a prominent agent for caries prevention.
  • Avoid frequent snacking – Frequent snacking in between meals increases the risk of getting cavities, as the simple carbohydrates in these snacks provide a perfect breeding ground for cavity-causing bacteria.
  • Avoid brushing teeth just after having acidic foods or drinks – You must wait for 30 minutes to one hour after consumption of acidic foods and drinks. The acid in the food or drink otherwise may erode the enamel layer and regular habit may cause exposed dentin leading to pain and sensitivity and increased risk of developing cavities.
  • Use Gentle And Short Strokes When Brushing – Use gentle, short strokes to brush your front teeth and thoroughly clean your mouth without abrading the enamel and preventing cavities from developing.
  • Consult Your Dentist Twice In A Year – It is important to get your oral health checked twice every year with an interval of 6 months between two visits. 
  • Dental Cleaning Once In 6 Months To Prevent Cavities Formation – Dental cleaning can help in removing the plaque and tartar and thus prevent formation of a cavity or decay or gum disease or periodontal disease of any type.
  • Simple rinse with water each time after you have food – You must also clean your teeth and gums, each time after you have food but not with a toothbrush. Simple rinse with water is considered good for overall oral health and hygiene.
  • Get those pits and grooves sealed to prevent formation of cavities – If you keep getting cavities even if you brush and floss your teeth, there may be several pits and grooves present on the occlusal surface of your teeth. The food particles get stuck in these pits and grooves, not possible to remove from brushing, resulting in plaque buildup, acid attacks on enamel by plaque bacteria and finally cavities formation.


This blog post addressed the topic, “Do dentists see bad teeth”. We understood if dentists judge really bad teeth, can a dentist see tooth decay, if cavities always show up on x-rays and if dentists lie about cavities. The article outlined 7 ways to tell if you have a cavity or not and how to stop getting cavities.


What can dentists tell from your teeth?

Dentists can tell a lot about your oral as well as overall health conditions based on what they notice in your oral examination. Dentists are the first ones to note the initial symptoms of stomach disorders, cancer, heart diseases, kidney diseases and others that appear first in the oral cavity.

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.

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.

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 an proximal cavity on the posterior side.

Are All Holes In Teeth Cavities?

Yes, all holes in teeth are cavities and must be examined by a dentist for further treatment.

The holes in teeth are cavities and they develop due to demineralization of the enamel caused by bacterial attack and acid production.


Embarrassed? What dentists really think – Dental Fear Central

Naam, J. (2017). Accuracy of Panoramic Dental X-Ray Imaging in Detection of Proximal Caries with Multiple Morphological Gradient (mMG) Method. JOIV: International Journal on Informatics Visualization, 1(1), 5-11.

Şenel, B., et al. “Diagnostic accuracy of different imaging modalities in detection of proximal caries.” Dentomaxillofacial Radiology 39.8 (2010): 501-511.

7 Proven Ways How to Tell If You Have a Cavity

Cavities – How to Tell if You Have One – WebMD

Cavities/tooth decay – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

11 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Healthy. (2019)

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