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Do I Need to Place a Crown On a Root Canal Treated Tooth: How to Decide

How to Decide?

Answer the following questions:

  1. Is the root canal located on a front tooth?
  2. Is there only a small cavity or filling on the tooth?
  3. Was the root canal performed very conservatively and left most of the tooth intact?
  4. You are NOT a heavy grinder?
  5. You don’t have too many crowns on your teeth already?
  6. You are under 60?

If  you answered “yes” to all of the above questions, then you may be able to pass up on the crown, at your own risk. Not only does the tooth have to qualify for not needing the crown, but you also need to make sure you are not a heavy grinder, don’t have too many crowns, or are not too old where teeth are weaker and fragile and break much easier.

If  you answered “no” to the any questions then unfortunately you will require the crown. A crown may be expensive, but losing the tooth and needing a dental implant is way more expensive and much more difficult to do.

Final Thoughts

Root canal treatments are quite costly and time consuming on their own, but without getting a crown you risk losing the tooth. Once the root canal has been performed the majority of the tooth structure above the gumlines is removed. As a result the tooth will become very weak and undermined. Without a crown on the tooth is likely to fracture or break, and should this happen you could be in trouble Sometimes the crown will fix the problem but most of the times the tooth will not be salvageable any longer and must be removed. Thus not getting the crown done on time could result in losing the tooth and the need for a dental implant, which is much more work and expenses than the crown would’ve been otherwise.

If the root canal is costing you too much, then you might have to wait to receive the crown a little later once you have the cash for it. Waiting for a few weeks is typically okay but after a few months the tooth begins to chip and crack and you must get the crown now or risk losing the tooth. Don’t postpone it for too long or you will end up losing the tooth after all and you paid for a root canal in vain!

helpful hint – If you need to wait for the crown consider talking to ask your dentist about at least placing the post or the permanent filling in the tooth. This makes the tooth much sturdier and reduces the chances of it fracturing as you wait for your crown. Also ask your dentist to drop the tooth out of bite. Not chewing on the tooth reduces the force exerted on it and decreases the likelihood of it breaking. Doing these two things should buy you some time to allow you to come up with the necessary funds required for the crown.

NEXT >> Do I Need to Place a Crown On a Root Canal Treated Tooth: Pros of Placing a Crown

Do I Need to Place a Crown On a Root Canal Treated Tooth: Pros of NOT Placing a Crown

Do I Need to Place a Crown On a Root Canal Treated Tooth: Pros of NOT Placing a Crown

1. In rare occasions a root canal won’t require a crown. This only applies when three things occur.

  • It’s a front tooth
  • The cavity or fracture is very small
  • Once the root canal is performed you still have the majority of your tooth struture intact

This only works on front tooth because they have only one nerve and the dentist or endodontist can make a very small access hole to do the root canal. This will also leave plenty of tooth structure intact. You may pass up on placing a crown on the tooth in these cases, at your own risk of course. Again, this only applies if very little tooth structure has been removed, so if there is a large cavity or a large existing filling in place then you will still require the crown.

helpful hint – The back teeth almost always require a crown after the root canal. Back teeth usually have multiple nerves and the dentist will have to create a large access hole to perform the root canal. As a result you will require a root canal. Additionally, since you chew on the back teeth, these will take the blunt of your chewing pressure and you run the risk of cracking them without a crown in place.

2. Doubling your expenses and number of appointments. Crowns are expensive and typically cost about the same or more than the root canal itself. And often times they also require a post in order to help hold the filling in place which further adds to the costs. And it takes several additional visits to perform a crown as well.

3. Your crown may have to be replaced in the future. A well done root canal will generally last you a lifetime. A crown on the other hand may require replacement over time should something go wrong with it. Crowns are made of porcelain or similar material and once they break it automatically results in a do over since crowns can not be repaired inside the mouth. Or your crown may fit well now but as you lose gum tissue around the tooth over the years, you may be forced to replace the crown as it is now trapping food, looking unattractive or no longer providing a proper seal around the tooth.

NEXT >> How to Decide

Do I Need to Place a Crown On a Root Canal Treated Tooth: Pros of Placing a Crown

Do I Need to Place a Crown On a Root Canal Treated Tooth: Pros of Placing a Crown

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.

NEXT >> Pros of NOT Placing a Crown

Do I Need to Place a Crown On a Root Canal Treated Tooth: How to Decide