How Biting Forces Effect Teeth With Large Fillings

When a patient has a cavity (caries), the dentist must consider whether a composite restoration (filling) or a crown is the best option to repair the tooth.  If the cavity is large, biting forces exerted on the tooth must be considered.

Filling or Crown?

A description of how biting forcesWhen a person chews, tremendous forces are exerted on the teeth.  Up to 573 pounds can be exerted on the molar teeth!  This is why it is so important for dental restorations to be strong enough to withstand those forces.   Once a filling becomes too wide or too deep, the integrity of the tooth is compromised. 

Large fillings destabilize teeth and, over time, biting forces from the opposing teeth can cause cracks, breakage, inflamed roots and pain.

Biting forces can cause the tooth to crack at the base.  Decay can occur causing tooth to fracture.

Complete crowns are restorations that cover the entire tooth. They offer a better option by providing more stability than a large filling. 

Reader Interactions


  1. A crown is clearly a better option than a filling. As a person who grinds my teeth at night, I was often in severe pain when I had a cavity. The force of my bite would eventually cause breakage, and thinking I was doing the right thing both economically and time-wise, I opted for another filling. Eventually, the tooth would break and there would be the necessity for a root canal or in the worst case, tooth extraction.

    Once again, a crown would have saved me money, time (in the long run) and most importantly, my tooth.

  2. The choice between a crown or a filling is not always clear cut. Sometimes the best choice is a partial crown. A crown or partial crown will not only replace the missing tooth structure but also strengthen the tooth against fracturing. Tooth fractures are unpredictable and often result in the tooth needing a root canal or worse yet, extraction. Another factor to consider is how prone are you to decay and to tooth fracture. Some patients are more likely to get cavities than other and some have a heavy bite and are hard on their teeth. A crown would be a better and more predictable option for them.

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Pi Dental Center, Fort Washington, PA