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Cracked Filling

A cracked filling is a failed dental restoration in your tooth.

What causes a cracked filling?

A dental filling can crack when a filling is exposed to excessive biting force, especially with old or large fillings.  It can also crack if the tooth structure beneath the filling has softened.

Who is at risk for a cracked filling?

People who have previously broken teeth or fillings are at risk.  These following factors increase the risk of cracked or broken fillings:

  • Having older or larger fillings
  • People who grind their teeth or have strong chewing muscles
  • People who have incorrect bites
  • People who chew on ice or open objects with their teeth

What can I do to reduce my chances of cracking my fillings?

Here are some recommendations to minimize a cracked filling:

  • Replace older fillings before they crack or break
  • Place a dental crown over very large fillings to protect them
  • Have your bite corrected if it is misaligned
  • Do not chew on ice or use your teeth to open objects like bags, lids, or cans.
  • Wear a nightguard that prevents teeth grinding

What happens if I choose not to do anything about my cracked fillings?

Bacteria can invade the cracks in a filling that can lead to tooth decay beneath it.  This decay can quickly reach the nerve of your tooth, causing an abscess.  When this occurs, your tooth will require a root canal or an extraction to address the infection.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.