Cavity growth and x-ray questions

May 19, 2019
My dentist said I have a few cavities he wants to fill. These are cavities he found when examining the surface of my teeth. I can't afford to get the fillings right now but he said that's ok, they don't need to be done right away, because they are small. At the same time, I know I should not let these cavities get too large before filling them. So I asked if on my next check up he could do an x-ray to see if they had grown larger. He then said they don't show up on the x-rays so he couldn't be sure what size they were. This left me feeling any future x-rays to monitor the growth of the cavities would be useless. But after I left the office and thought about what he said I felt confused. At first he said the cavities were small, then he said he couldn't be sure what size they are. Anyone have an idea why he might be saying that? Also, why do some cavities show up on x-rays and others not show up? What is it that makes a cavity visible on an x-ray? I'm guessing that once a cavity is large enough, it is visible on an x-ray? Or is that not the case?

Is there any way to monitor the growth of a cavity over time, so at least I would know if the cavity had really enlarged and a filling was urgent? Any recommendations for a way I could work with my dentist to do this?

Thank you for your help.
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