Although the “bite-wing” x-ray has long been a standard component of the dental examination, it is only a piece of information that has to be interpreted within the context of a larger picture.
Over the years, we have learned that not every cavity that is detected on a bite wing x-ray is actively growing.
The most conservative approaches to restorative dentistry understand that small, or “incipient” cavities seen on x-rays may not be progressing.
Such small cavities may be reversed by the use of Fluoride rinses, particularly in the case of permanent teeth.
In such cases there is a chance that a small cavity can be “arrested”. Taking another set of cavity detecting x-rays in a year or more can determine whether the cavity stays stable in size, disappears or grows. If there is no evidence of growth at that time, you can continue to monitor, rather than fix the cavity.