Diagnosis of Cavitations
Cavitations are difficult to discover. Most cavitations can be detected on and x-ray called a panoramic radiograph (PAN). Unfortunately, dentists are trained in school to read certain irregularities in an x-ray image as normal. If the dentist is not specifically trained to look for and identify cavitations, these bony lesions are usually missed.
As seen below, cavitations usually appear on x-rays as dark, oval shaped voids surrounded by a thin layer of thick bone. Sometimes the dark spot on the x-ray has the shape of the extracted tooth, which is most likely due to the periodontal ligament being left behind and acting as a barrier to proper bone healing.
To the untrained eye, this x-ray appears normal. The cavitation behind the bottom molar would remain undiagnosed.
A closer look reveals the presence of a cavitation as outlined by the arrows.
This is the actual cavitation shown in the above x-rays. The hole in the bone measured about 1cm D x 1.5cm H x 1.5cm W. The biopsy report confirmed that the lesion was due to ischemic bone disease (dead bone lacking blood supply), which is indicative of cavitations.