After your root canal procedure, you likely want to know if your tooth will need a dental crown. While it is true that all root canals require some form of reinforcement after the fact for your tooth to remain functional and healthy, a crown isn’t always necessary. Before we look at that, though, let’s explore the specifics of a root canal and dental crown, so we are all on the same page when discussing this matter.
What is a Root Canal Procedure?
A root canal is a procedure that is designed to remove bacteria from an infected root canal. The overall point of the surgery is to prevent reinfection and save the affected tooth, preventing extraction. In a standard root canal procedure, the infected or inflamed pulp of the tooth is removed and then the inside part of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected. After this is complete, the area is filled and sealed. While the procedure can seem scary it is a very common procedure, which saves millions of teeth each year.
- Why Root Canals Are Sometimes Necessary: If you find yourself in need of a root canal, don’t fret. There are many benefits from the procedure including helping you to maintain efficient chewing capacity, protecting other teeth from excessive stain and wear, creating a normal biting sensation and force and more. In some cases, a root canal is a final attempt at saving a tooth, so don’t dismiss it out of hand if this is what is recommended for your situation.
What is a Dental Crown?
In the simplest term, a dental crown is basically a cap that is designed to restore the appearance and functionality of a damaged tooth. This damage can be caused by a broken, cracked or chipped tooth or excessive staining. It can also be the result of a compromised tooth due to a root canal procedure. Whatever the reason behind the need, a dental crown will support, repair and save a damaged tooth in need of restoration. It can also have some cosmetic advantages in addition to its practical services. Our dental crowns are made from porcelain and are therefore more natural-looking and realistic. Porcelain is extremely durable, which means this is a great alternative for your natural tooth.
For front-facing teeth, we often recommend Emax crowns, which are constructed from Lithium disilicate, a type of specialized glass. It is an incredible life-like substitute and can withstand heavy wear and tear. Color matching is available and is based on your natural tooth color, which creates a beautiful, flawless smile. The smile you have always wanted. Your dental crown will be applied over the course of two appointments. This will include removing damaged parts of your tooth and measuring for your custom-made crown. You will wear a temporary crown while your crown is being custom-created for your tooth. The creation process takes around a week. Once we have your crown back, you return for your second appointment, and we cement it onto your tooth and ensure it is a proper fit and perfectly accommodates your bite.
Is a Dental Crown Necessary After Your Root Canal?
Now that we understand what a root canal is and the benefits of a dental crown, it’s important to answer the question at hand. In short, the answer to whether you need a dental crown after a root canal is not always. As mentioned above, a root canal can leave your tooth vulnerable and this can mean a crown is necessary, but it’s not always. With that being said, it’s important to understand that not getting a dental crown can reduce your tooth’s chance of survival after a root canal. In fact, according to one study, if you opt for a dental crown after your root canal, your tooth has a six times higher rate of survival. Another study found that a mere one-third of molars would make it five years post root canal without a crown. All this information is basically saying that while you don’t “have” to get a crown after your root canal, it’s a great idea for a variety of reasons, a few of which are listed below:
Why it’s Beneficial to get a Crown After a Root Canal
- Helps Retain Color: A root canal can alter the color of your tooth post-treatment. It can have a grayed or stained look. A dental crown can help create a more natural tooth appearance, better matching your surrounding teeth.
- Reduces Sensitivity: While root canal therapy can cause sensitivity to cold and heat and become uncomfortable, a dental crown can prevent this unpleasantness. A dental crown serves to protect your tooth, which reduces overall sensitivity.
- Restores Strength of a Fragile Tooth: A root canal can involve a great deal of drilling and is often the result of an infection or cavity within the tooth. All these factors can cause your tooth to become more fragile than it was pre-infection or pre-root canal procedure. However, a durable dental crown can protect the tooth. Helping restore the natural strength and preventing additional damage from occurring.
- Reduces The Risk of Infection: In general, a tooth that has been treated using root therapy is at a higher risk for infection. Thankfully, a dental crown seals the area, preventing leaks and recontamination. This can prevent the need for an eventual tooth extraction should the tooth become infected post-root canal.
Other Ways of Knowing if You Need a Crown After a Root Canal
In most cases, you can determine if your tooth would benefit from a crown after a root canal simply from where the tooth is located. For example, dental crowns are often required if the tooth was one of your back teeth, those used for grinding. This includes your premolars and molars. These teeth will benefit more from dental crowns. In many cases, your teeth that are located up front, your incisors, canines and front teeth will not require the additional support of a crown. Thankfully, you don’t have to determine for yourself if your tooth needs a dental crown after your root canal procedure. Simply ask our dental professionals if you would benefit from a crown, and we can help you determine the best course of action in your individual situation.
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