If you’ve received a root canal before, then you are probably familiar with comes next. Just about every time you receive a root canal, you are told that it will also need a crown. And of course this usually more than doubles the cost of the entire treatment. If you could just convince the dentist to do the root canal without the crown it would really save some serious cash. But without knowing why there is a need for a crown you can’t win this argument! So does every root canal treated tooth always require a crown? Or are there exceptional cases where it would it be acceptable to just get the root canal and not the crown?
Pros of Receveing a Crown on a Root Canal Treated Tooth
1. If a lot of tooth structure is removed after performing the root canal then you need a crown to restore the tooth. A root canal involves removing the tooth nerve and replacing it with a neutral material, known as gutta percha, to prevent the re-infiltration with bacteria. A crown is a dental restoration that encompasses the whole tooth and prevents it from cracking or breaking. Each procedure serves a totally different purposes. Since once a root canal is performed a substantial portion of the tooth structure has to be removed, a crown is usually required afterwards to replace this missing tooth structure and restore the tooth to its original shape.
2. The crown seals and strengthens the tooth. To perform a root canal a substantial portion of the tooth structure must be removed to allow the dentist or endodontist access to the tooth nerve. As a result the tooth will become undermined and weakened. The tooth is now susceptible to cracking or fracturing as you’re chewing on it. Placing a crown really helps strengthen the tooth and just about eliminates the likelihood of the tooth fracturing. Without a crown the tooth can break or split right down the middle at anytime and you could lose the tooth. Additionally, the crown encompasses the whole tooth and creates a seal to keep the bacteria out. This prevents the recurrence of a cavity of infection in the future.
3. It’s much easier to clean the tooth with a crown in place. Once the root canal is done your dentist needs to fill the hole that is left behind and there are three options to go about doing this.
- Leave the tooth with a temporary filling for a short while. But the temporary filling will fall out after a few weeks and will start creating problems.
- Place a permanent filling, possibly with a dental post included
- Place a crown to fully seal the tooth
The temporary filling tends to fall out within a few days or weeks leaving a hole behind and is only meant as a temporary fix. The permanent filling can fill in the void created by the root canal and will remain in place indefinitely. But this is the same material that is used to do fillings and it will likely trap lots of food particles, cause your gums to bleed and leave the tooth smelling and tasting foul. The crown on the other hand is made from porcelain, or similar material, which is polished and smooth. With the crown in place you will be able to clean the tooth much easier and it will help to reduce the bleeding and eliminate any foul smell or taste in the region.