Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) can provide enhanced information for diagnosing dental diseases when compared to 2D radiographs. However, other nonionizing imaging modes such as near-infrared transillumination may have clinical potential to supplement radiographic methods. In a study of 13 extracted human teeth, we compared clinical features between 2D radiograph, CBCT, and near-infrared transillumination imaging. We found that near-infrared imaging independently, and in some cases exclusively, was successful in identifying early demineralization and shallow enamel features, while radiography was optimal for capturing deeper decay and developed caries. We report that near-infrared transillumination imaging is well-suited for rapid screening of patients for detection of early problem sites and as a preliminary assessment tool to guide administration of radiographs.