- by Dr. Karanjit Dhillon
- August 22, 2022
A treatment used to alleviate tooth pain and deter the tooth from future infection and damage, Root Canal is completed with a protective cap called a dental crown, in the majority of cases. A dental crown is popularly considered the final step after the root canal.
But it’s also fairly common for patients to wonder if this ‘final step’ of root canal treatment is actually important.
Root Canal Treatment in itself is quite feared by the patients, thus the addition of a dental crown seems terrifying to many.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
A treatment to repair and salvage a damaged or infected tooth without removing it is called a “root canal”. The term is derived from the cleaning of the canals inside a tooth’s root.
About a few decades ago, root canal treatments were most painful. But with the advancement of dental science and local anesthetics, there is almost no pain experienced by the patients during the procedure.
Living with a decayed tooth is probably more painful. The alternatives to Root canal consist of extraction of the damaged tooth, no other treatment, or substituting the tooth with a dental implant, bridge, or removable partial denture.
During the root canal, an endodontist or dentist gains access to the center of a tooth to eliminate the infection.
The infection that travels to the roots of a tooth is called pulpitis, (infection of the pulp) deep inside a tooth.
Usually caused due to advanced tooth decay which is left untreated or a sudden trauma damaging a tooth, all the infection enters into the pulp.
The small hole on the surface of the tooth is made by the dentist during the root canal procedure and then all the damaged pulp is removed.
The inner tooth is cleaned to remove any remaining debris. All of the tooth’s nerves & blood vessels are present in this pulp.
The end of the procedure provides the patients with a tooth that is hollow and painless. It is then filled with a distinctive dental material, which helps to seal it and prevent anything from getting inside.
A crown can help to add support and prevent any further damage to the tooth that no longer contains pulp inside it.
Also Read: Sedation Dentistry- Types and Procedure
Why Does a Treated Tooth Need a Dental Crown?
A cap or dental crown helps to strengthen a tooth when a patient requires implants or bridges. Placed over a weak tooth, dental crowns give the extra strength the tooth needs to keep doing its job.
The absence of this cap can cause the weak tooth to split or break, making it more difficult to repair the teeth as extra damage has been caused.
A premolar, a molar or a back grinding teeth usually bear the most bite force and must get a crown placed over them upon receiving a root canal treatment, to provide them the little extra support needed for them to stay strong for continuous use and to prevent them from further damage.
A crown is often put over the tooth after a root canal, in these cases, it has prior damage or is now weaker due to all of the pulp having been removed.
Whether the crown is needed or not needed after a root canal is best decided by the dentist. The dentists at Morgan Hill Dentistry make a thorough assessment of the teeth before deciding if placing a crown on the tooth is a necessity.
Some more aspects play a role in the decision of placing the dental crown after a root canal. These include:
Patient’s Oral Health
The reason behind the requirement of the root canal procedure in the first place is one of the primary factors on which the necessity of the dental crown is based.
Gin with resin is sufficient to fill minor cracks or decay at the surface instead of having to get a dental crown.
An otherwise good oral health and strong teeth on either side of the compromised tooth do not always require a dental crown.
Bruxism is a condition where the patient compulsively grinds and lunches the teeth leading to the weakening of teeth that are even in perfect health. Thus the dental crown after the root canal treatment becomes a necessity in patients with bruxism.
As the Root canal tends to weaken the tooth, the freshly operated hollowed-out tooth can be damaged by the pressure put on it.
Damage in the Past
Damage to the teeth, if any in the past can make them especially vulnerable and sensitive to breakage and damage.
Here is where the dental crown can help prevent the tooth whose quality is already doubtful, from crushing or getting damaged further.
Sensitivity of the Tooth
Some root canal procedures are performed to remove only a little part of the pulp that is infected. This leaves the other part exceptionally sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure. The tooth can be protected from these irritants by covering it with a dental crown.
Discoloration of the Teeth
Tooth discoloration can be caused by tooth decay, enamel erosion, and even root canal. This makes a dental crown a necessity, aesthetically.
When is a Dental Crown not a Necessity?
When we discuss the importance of dental crowns, it is also significant to understand when a dental crown is not a necessity, as this can help you make an informed decision after the root canal procedure. At Morgan Hill Dentistry we believe in discussing with the patients all their options completely.
Dental crowns are used to protect the tooth from crushing under the pressure of grinding. This makes Dental crowns especially necessary for the repair of the back teeth.
However, as the front teeth need not bear as much pressure as the molars, they can be restored with just a dental filling and left without a crown after a root canal procedure.
However, a patient may choose to cover a tooth that has been discolored by decay, for cosmetic dentistry purposes.
The necessity of a dental crown is mainly based on the condition and strength of the tooth.
A tooth that is in reasonably good condition after a root canal, may be filled and left, especially in the case of the tooth which is in front.
But it is important to remember that in the majority of cases, the placement of a crown is recommended on a molar whose dental pulp has been removed.
Your dentist is the best person to make this decision and advise you on this issue and provide you with a viable and permanent solution, which is best for your tooth health.
However, it is important to remember that there is absolutely nothing to fear in a dental crown. An extremely safe procedure, it can go a long way in protecting the tooth and giving it stability and strength.
Book an appointment with us to know your options.