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Dentistry/Tooth Bonding


I am 59 years old and have absolutely perfect teeth!  Never had a cavity or braces or anything.  At my last cleaning, the dentist said I have #11 tooth with slightly exposed root and suggested tooth bonding.  Should I really do it?  I read they remove some of your enamel to do that.  In addition, bonding doesn't last very long (3-10 years) and now you may have the risk of your tooth chipping and discoloration issues.  I have no symptoms or pain or sensitivity.  Good idea to do it or just keep an eye on it?

Dear Esther,

You have now asked me a question that I cannot answer with certainty.   I have not seen you or your teeth or the defect you describe.

Having said this, I will tell you that if this area is not decayed, as you say, and if it is not sensitive or painful, you do not need to have this bonded restoration done right away.  What will happen, though, is that this exposed root area will wear more deeply over time.  I have seen these areas wear into patients' nerves and cause a gread deal of pain, or cause the nerve inside the tooth to become infected.  Your dentist is trying to avoid these situations for you.

Let me use the example of  a tire on your car.  You look at the tire and you see that the grooves that were there when it was new, are now gone.  What should you do?  The tires still hold air.  They are not flat.  Your car still runs fine.  You decide you don't want to spend $200 on a tire now.  So you continue to drive on it.  What might happen?  Maybe nothing.  Maybe a blowout on the highway.  Maybe a skid on wet pavement.  Maybe unable to stop before hitting something.  Who knows.  But if I had to bet, I'd bet on a blowout in the middle of nowhere.

What I tell my patients is that I can only tell them what I see, what I can do to repair what I see, and what will happen if it is not taken care of.  What you do when you know these facts is up to you.  I cannot force my patients to do anything.  I can only encourage them to do what I believe is  best for them.  Beyond that, you take your life in your own hands.

About bonding:  20 years ago, about 1/4 of my upper left first molar broke off.  This tooth immediately became sensitive and was rough against my tongue.  I went to my friend the dentist as quickly as I could.  He rebuilt the missing piece with bonding material.  That restoration is still there.  It still looks like the missing piece of tooth it now replaces.  And it has caused me no problems.  Our bonding materials today are much stronger and longer lasting that what I have in my tooth.

I hope my stories have helped you to make the right decision for yourself.


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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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