A radiant smile can light up a room, but when tooth fillings break, it’s as if a small glitch appears in the glow. Broken tooth fillings can be an unexpected dental issue that requires prompt attention. It can be a frustrating and difficult experience.

It can occur for several reasons, including chewing hard foods, poor-quality fillings, grinding or clenching teeth, and tooth decay. While a broken filing may not seem like a major issue, it is important to have it repaired as soon as possible to prevent further tooth damage and avoid pain and discomfort.

Understanding Broken Tooth Fillings

Tooth fillings are a common dental treatment used to repair teeth that have been affected by decay or damage. They are typically made of materials like amalgam, composite resin, or porcelain. While fillings are durable, they are not invincible and can break due to various reasons.

Broken tooth fillings generally come in two ways:

  • Fillings with little chips or cracks: These fillings still function normally, although they have a small chip or crack in them. Although this kind of broken filling is usually not painful, it is important to visit a dentist right away to get it fixed.
  • Missing or loosened fillings: These fillings have either fallen out entirely or come free from the tooth. This kind of broken filling may cause pain and expose the tooth to more infection and deterioration.

Types of Filling Materials

The kinds of dental filling materials are most frequently used:

  • Amalgam (silver) fillings: These fillings are the most noticeable but also the most cost-effective and long-lasting alternative.
  • Composite resin fillings: more costly and less long-lasting than amalgam fillings, these fillings are tooth-coloured and less noticeable.
  • Gold fillings: Although the most costly and long-lasting alternative, gold fillings are also the most challenging to install and maintain.
  • Glass ionomer cement fillings: These fillings are used for smaller fillings, such as those on baby teeth. Although they are less costly, they are not as long-lasting as amalgam or composite resin fillings.


The symptoms of a broken tooth filling can vary depending on the severity of the break. Some common symptoms include:

  • Pain could be acute, dull, or pulsating.
  • Sensitive teeth to hot and cold foods
  • Discomfort during eating or biting.
  • A loose or chipped filling.
  • A gap in the tooth.
  • Food particles become lodged in the teeth.

Causes of Broken Tooth Fillings

  • Normal wear and tear: Dental fillings might wear down over time due to chewing, grinding, and other daily activities.
  • Biting on hard objects: Chewing on hard objects such as ice, nuts, or even pen caps might result in a damaged filling.
  • Sudden trauma: Accidents or traumas to the mouth can dislodge or harm existing fillings.
  • Tooth decay: If the surrounding tooth decay, it might damage the structure and jeopardise the filling’s integrity.
  • Teeth grinding (Bruxism): This is the condition in which people grind their teeth unconsciously. This can put a lot of stress on fillings and cause them to break.
  • Faulty dental work: If a filling is not placed correctly, it is more likely to break.

Immediate Steps to Take

It is important to take immediate steps, once you realise that you have broken teeth filing

  1. Rinse your mouth: To assist in cleaning the area, gently rinse your mouth with warm saltwater.
  2. Avoid extreme temperatures: To reduce sensitivity, avoid extremely hot or cold meals and beverages.
  3. Temporary dental filling: You can use over-the-counter dental cement as a temporary remedy until you can see a dentist. This helps to preserve the tooth from additional injury while also alleviating pain and suffering.

It should be noted that over-the-counter dental cement is only a temporary fix. It is of the utmost importance to schedule an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible to have the fractured filling fixed or replaced.

Treatment for a Broken Tooth Filling

The most effective way to treat a broken tooth filling depends on how severe the break is and where the filling is located.

Refill and Replace

  • In some cases, the dentist may simply be able to restore the filling. If the break is significant enough, the dentist may need to remove the filling and replace it with a new one.
  • If the filling is only slightly chipped, composite resin may be used to restore it. If, on the other hand, the filling is severely cracked or the tooth is cracked.
  • After the filling has been fixed or replaced, the dentist will provide you with information on how to care for your tooth and avoid future fillings from breaking.

Root canal: If the filling breaks in such a way that the dentin or pulp of the tooth is exposed, the dentist may need to repair the tooth with a root canal treatment.

What to Expect at the Dentist for a Broken Tooth Filling

  1. Schedule an appointment: As soon as you notice a broken tooth filling, they will be able to determine the degree of the damage and advise on the best course of action.
  2. X-rays and evaluation: To assess the status of the tooth and surrounding structures, the dentist may take CT scans or X-rays. This will assist them in determining the root cause of the damaged filling and developing a treatment plan.
  3. Repairing or Replacing: If you are unable to bear the pain, the dentist may give you a local anesthetic to numb the area before repairing or replacing the filling. The filling may be fixed or replaced, depending on the extent of the damage.


A broken tooth filling can be a discomforting experience, but with prompt attention and professional care at The Dental Lounges dental clinic, it can be effectively addressed. By understanding the causes, recognising symptoms, and taking preventive measures, you can ensure your dental fillings stay in optimal condition for years to come.  Remember, your dental health is an investment in your overall well-being, so take action today!

Schedule your appointment today!