5 doctors weighed in:
Can dental x-rays miss detecting a dental abscess?
5 doctors weighed in

1 doctor agrees
In brief: Yes
When there is an abscess in the bone, then it appears in the x-ray by the pattern of bone destruction.
If an abscess is small, or limited to soft tissue, then it will not be evident on an x-ray. Additionally, an x-ray is a 2-dimensional view of a 3-d environment - if the abscess is superimposed by another structure in the image, then the abscess may not be evident in the x-ray.

In brief: Yes
When there is an abscess in the bone, then it appears in the x-ray by the pattern of bone destruction.
If an abscess is small, or limited to soft tissue, then it will not be evident on an x-ray. Additionally, an x-ray is a 2-dimensional view of a 3-d environment - if the abscess is superimposed by another structure in the image, then the abscess may not be evident in the x-ray.
Dr. Kiyan Mehdizadeh
Dr. Kiyan Mehdizadeh
Thank
Dr. Willam Lau
Internal Medicine - Infectious Disease
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Yes
An early dental abscess may not show up on dental x-rays until there is enough bony erosion from the infection generally in 1-2 weeks.

In brief: Yes
An early dental abscess may not show up on dental x-rays until there is enough bony erosion from the infection generally in 1-2 weeks.
Dr. Willam Lau
Dr. Willam Lau
Thank
Dr. J BARRY Stovall
General Practice
In brief: Yes
Many dental infections are diagnosed by x-rays due to the changes in the surrounding bone.
The soft tissue of a tooth must be diseased prior to a abscess. In early stages there is often no detectable changes in the bone.

In brief: Yes
Many dental infections are diagnosed by x-rays due to the changes in the surrounding bone.
The soft tissue of a tooth must be diseased prior to a abscess. In early stages there is often no detectable changes in the bone.
Dr. J BARRY Stovall
Dr. J BARRY Stovall
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. William Forsythe
Board Certified, Emergency Medicine
23 years in practice
171K people helped
Continue
107,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors