A few weeks back, the whole family went to the dentist for our check-ups. When it was my turn, the dentist praised me for how well my teeth looked. Then I mentioned that one of my teeth was bothering me, so he decided to go ahead and X-ray both sides of my mouth. Not only did he see the big cavity that was bothering me, but several other ones on the other side of my mouth.
He went ahead and filled the one that was giving me trouble, then I was to come back when it was convenient to get the others filled.
So, then, this week we went back (my daughter also needed a tooth filled). He picked at my teeth for a little bit, gave me the deadening shot, then picked at them for a bit more. Apparently, my teeth felt too solid for the amount of decay the X-ray showed, so he X-rayed them again.
This time, the X-ray showed the teeth with little to no decay. He puzzled over that for a bit, then took another X-ray, which showed the same thing.
He decided at the moment to just let things go, and keep an eye on those teeth, maybe X-ray them more often than he normally would have.
“I never thought an X-ray could lie to me,” he said, “But that’s apparently what happened.”
He wasn’t sure if the first X-ray was taken at a slightly odd angle that would cast odd shadows on the teeth, or if perhaps (since decay doesn’t take place at a constant rate) the cavities might have stopped decaying for a bit, then partially re-mineralized.
So, the good news was that I didn’t need my teeth drilled (this time). The bad news was that I got my mouth numbed up for no real reason.