Do composite resin restorations protect cracked teeth? An in-vitro study

Do composite resin restorations protect cracked teeth? An in-vitro study

  • O. Naka, B. J. Millar, D. Sagris & C. David





223–228 (10 August 2018) | Download Citation

Key points

  • Provides an understanding on how to treat cracked teeth.
  • Points out the importance of being aware of the risks in using composite to strengthen teeth.
  • Discusses the behaviour of inlays and onlays.



To evaluate whether bonded resin composite restorations can effectively immobilise the tooth segments in teeth with a synthesised crack under loading, by exploring the impact of the restoration type (direct versus indirect composite resin) and restoration design (inlay versus onlay) on the fatigue resistance.


Sound human third molars underwent large mesio-occluso-distal preparations and a groove was cut to simulate a crack. Standardised procedures were adopted and measures were taken during teeth selection so that systematic error and methodology bias were minimised. The teeth were randomly assigned to four groups. The specimens were submitted to cyclic loading and loaded until fracture or to a maximum of 185,000 cycles. The failure mode was recorded.


No failure was observed in ‘direct’ groups up to the 1000 N force. Survival analysis revealed statistically significant higher survival rates for ‘direct’ groups compared to ‘indirect’ groups (χ2 = 11.352, df = 1, p = 0.001) while there was no significant difference between ‘inlay’ and ‘onlay’ groups (χ2 = 0.015, df = 1, p = 0.901) (pooled data).


Within the limitations of this in-vitro study, it can be concluded that the direct composite resin restorations sufficiently protected the cracked teeth regardless of the cavity design. As there was no statistically significant difference in survival rates between inlays and onlays it is not possible to favour one design type over the other.