PURPOSE: To determine whether subtraction images utilizing contrast media can improve the diagnostic performance of proximal caries diagnosis compared to conventional periapical radiographic images. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty-six teeth with 57 proximal surfaces were radiographied using a size #2 RVG-ui sensor (Trophy Radiology, Marne-la-Vallee, France). The teeth immersed in water-soluble contrast media and subtraction images were taken. Each tooth was then sectioned for histologic examination. The digital radiographic images and subtraction images were examined and interpreted by three dentists for proximal caries. The results of the proximal caries diagnosis were then verified with the results of the histologic examination. RESULTS: The proximal caries sensitivity using digital subtraction radiography was significantly higher than simply examining a single digital radiograph. The sensitivity of the proximal dentinal carious lesion when analyzed with the subtraction radiograph and the radiograph together was higher than with the subtraction radiograph or the radiograph alone. CONCLUSION: The use of subtraction radiography with contrast media may be useful for detecting proximal dentinal carious lesions.