Tooth Decay - Diagnosis

Tooth decay is often discovered during regular dental checkups. Many adults have a routine dental checkup every six months. During these checkups, a dentist looks at and probes the patient's teeth. If there is tooth decay, it is usually easy for the dentist to find.

Some cases of tooth decay are harder to detect. They may occur between or on the back of teeth. In such cases, they are diagnosed by taking an X ray of the patient's mouth. Decay shows up as a dark spot on the X-ray film.

Tooth decay in very young children is often not diagnosed. Parents may not think it necessary to take a young child to the dentist and decay may be well advanced before it is discovered. For this reason, many dentists recommend having children one to two years of age examined for tooth decay.

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