March 21, 2022
Root canal therapy is a treatment used to relieve a patient from tooth pain and prevent the tooth from future infection and damage.
In most cases, the treatment is completed with a protective cap called a dental crown.
However, many people wonder if this final step of the root canal treatment ie ‘The dental Crown’ is truly important.
When most patients are usually unnerved by the root canal procedure in itself, the additional factor of a dental crown seems even scarier.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
A dental procedure where an endodontist or dentist gains access to the centre of a tooth to eliminate an infection is known as the Root Canal.
The infection that reaches the roots of a tooth is called pulpitis, or infection of the pulp deep inside a tooth.
It usually occurs when advanced tooth decay is left untreated or when a sudden trauma damages a tooth and all the infection enters into the pulp.
The tooth in need of root canal therapy can be painful, but the procedure helps to bring permanent relief to that pain.
The dentist first makes a small hole on the surface of the tooth during the root canal and then removes all the damaged pulp before cleaning the inner tooth to remove any remaining debris.
The pulp consists of all of the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels.
The patients are left with a tooth that is hollowed out and painless after the procedure.
A unique dental material is then filled into the tooth and it helps to seal it, preventing anything from getting inside.
However, as the tooth no longer contains pulp inside it, a crown can help to add support to it, preventing any further damage.
Why Does a Treated Tooth Need a Dental Crown?
A cap or a dental crown is used when a dental patient needs implants or bridges and it helps to strengthen a tooth.
When placed over a weak tooth, dental crowns can provide the extra strength the tooth needs so that it can continue its job.
In absence of this cap, a weak tooth will split or break, making it more tedious to fix the teeth because more damage has been done.
Generally, a premolar, a molar or one of the back grinding teeth needs a crown to be placed over them after receiving a root canal, as these teeth bear the most bite force and usually need a little extra support to stay strong for continuous use.
A dentist often puts a crown over the tooth after a root canal, if it has prior damage or is now weaker because all of the pulp has been removed.
This helps to keep the tooth strong from further damage. A dentist is the best judge to decide if the crown is needed after a root canal.
If the doctor feels it is important to place a crown, then a crown should be placed on the tooth.
Some other factors also help to decide whether a tooth needs a dental crown after a root canal. These include:
The reason that led to the root canal in the first place is also one of the most significant factors to decide if the dental crown placement is necessary.
A minor crack or decay at the surface can sometimes be filled with Gin with resin rather than having to get a dental crown.
A patient with otherwise good oral health and structurally sound teeth on either side of the compromised tooth does not necessarily always need a crown.
Grinding and clenching of teeth are known as bruxism and they can weaken even perfectly healthy teeth.
Thus the patients with bruxism need a dental crown after a root canal treatment.
Root canal treatment leads to the weakening of the tooth, and the pressure put on the freshly operated tooth may prove extremely harmful to the hollowed-out tooth.
The teeth which have had damage in the past are particularly vulnerable to breakage and a dental crown can help prevent a tooth from crumbling when its quality is already questionable.
In some cases, removal of only some part of the pulp is needed during the root canal leaving the remaining part extremely sensitive to heat, cold, pressure and sugar. A crown helps to cover the tooth protecting it from these elements.
The tooth has become discoloured. Tooth decay or a root canal can cause discolouration of the tooth making the placement of a dental crown necessary for cosmetic reasons.
When is a Dental Crown Not a Necessity?
Dr Sheena Gaur at Kirkland Premier Dentistry explains, “The main purpose of the Dental crowns is to protect the tooth from falling apart on the pressure of grinding being exerted.
Dental crowns are especially necessary for the restoration of the back teeth.”
She further elaborates that the front teeth need not bear as much pressure as the molars and they can simply be restored with a dental filling and left without a crown after a root canal.
However, a tooth that has been discoloured by decay might need a crown to be fitted for cosmetic purposes.
To sum it up, the need for a dental crown is primarily based on the condition of the tooth.
If it is in a good condition after a root canal, the dentist may opt to fill it and let it be, especially for the front tooth.
However, in almost all cases, the placement of a crown will be recommended on a molar whose dental pulp has been removed.
The dentist will always be the best person to advise and provide you with a good and permanent solution.
Dr Sheena Guar says that there is absolutely nothing to fear if you need a crown. It is a very safe procedure that can go a long way in protecting your tooth and giving it stability and strength.
To discuss whether you would need a dental crown after the root canal, request an appointment here.