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Dentistry/Tooth Decay


Hi, I had removed my wisdom tooth (surgery) on my lower right hand side many years ago. I have been told by my dentist then that there is a cavity on the tooth in front. He suggested that we could monitor as the cavity was below the gum and drilling it would mean destroying more tooth structure, or even cutting the gum away. I have no pain nor any sensitivity for all these years. Recently, I went to have my general teeth cleaning done by another dentist (not the same one as I have since moved my house). He took x-rays for me and noted the cavity on my second molar, the one which I was told by my previous dentist to monitor. He advised me to do a filling on it but I told him I have no pain nor discomfort on that tooth. Should I heed his advise and do a filling? Or can I continue to monitor and even take x-ray every year to check if the decay is progressing.

Many thanks!

Dear Chloe,

This is a question I cannot answer without seeing you, your tooth, and the X-ray of your tooth.  Like your old dentist, I sometimes recommend we wait and watch what may be decay.  Sometimes these areas do not grow.  Some may recalcify.  Usually, though, decay progresses slowly to become a true infection inside your tooth.

From here, I cannot tell if your decay has progressed to the point that it needs to be removed.

I can tell you that if it is eating more deeply into your tooth, then not having it fixed will result in an infected nerve, pain, swelling, and the need for root canal to remove the infected nerve.

The person to best answer your question is your former dentist, who has been watching it all these years.  He will know what it looked like before your new dentist saw it, and will know if has begun to grow.

I wish I could help you more.


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Howard Finnk, D.D.S., P.A., CEO


I am a Family, Implant and Cosmetic dentist. I will answer questions on any aspect of dentistry and matters relating to the smile, gums, jaws and lower face. Member American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, and Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. I have served as District Council Member of Alpha Omega, as well as serving for one term as its President. I am also a member of The Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, and Mount Sinai Hospital Guild. I have served as a Volunteer for Project Dental Health and The Tri-County Dental Health Council.


Having attained over 30 years of clinical experience in private practice in Michigan, in 2001 I was re-certified by taking and passing the Florida State Dental Board Examination. After moving to Florida, I spent nearly 10 years re-honing my skills while working as an Associate Dentist for several large dental groups. In September, 2004, I was appointed Adjunct Clinical Professor at Nova University's College of Dental Medicine. I am certified in placement of Mini Dental Implants, and I am Director of The Florida Implant Center ( On March 1, 2010, at the age of 62, I began all over again by buying a dental practice near my home in the Fort Lauderdale area. As sole owner and Chief Dental Officer of the new Nob Hill Dental Center (, I can now carefully provide dental care to patients who care, all within a caring, joyful environment. Over my career lifetime, I have provided thousands of diagnoses, fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, periodontal treatments, TMJ therapies, partials, dentures and extractions, and dozens of implants for my patients. The only aspect of dentistry with which I have very little experience is orthodontics.

American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, Atlantic Coast District Dental Society, Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, Alpha Omega Alumni Association, and American Association of Dental Implantologists. Formerly, American Academy of General Dentistry, Michigan Dental Association, Macomb Dental Society, Detroit District Dental Society, Tri-County Dental Health Council (a charitable dental care organization)

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Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology from Wayne State University Doctor of Dental Surgery from University of Detroit College of Dentistry Adjunct Clinical Professor, Special Needs Department, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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