Do I need a crown after a root canal?
A permanent type of restoration is required after a tooth has had root canal treatment. Conditions determine which type of restoration is needed. Which tooth and the function of the tooth in question are important in determining which treatment is called for. Possible permanent restorations include the use of a crown or a filling.
Factors influencing how the tooth is rebuilt (crown versus filling) must be considered in choosing the appropriate restoration solution. The decision is based on the needs of the involved tooth. After root canal treatment a tooth is significantly more fragile and brittle. This may be due to the access cavity a dentist needed to create in order to treat the root(s). At times a canal can be difficult to locate. When this happens, greater amounts of tooth structure may have to be removed which leaves the tooth hollowed out.
In some instances, there is pre-existing damage from a large cavity or damage from a fracture which has left the tooth in a weakened state.
Another consideration is that the flexural strength of dentin (the hard tissue which is the bulk of a tooth) has been compromised by chemical agents that are used during the cleaning portion of the root canal treatment.
In each of these examples mentioned above, by the time the root canal treatment has been completed a tooth is at a much greater risk for fracture, even in normal chewing function. Usually, the recommendation is that a dental crown should be placed. The crown will provide a strengthening effect that can help to prevent fractures.
A restoration with a proper seal is required so that contaminants from the mouth cannot find a way to re-infect the root structure, causing the root canal treatment to fail. The crown, more successful than any other type of restoration, can help to prevent this type of event.
Restoration longevity and durability is an important factor. The specific details of restoration requirements however will vary on a case-by-case basis. In the case of root canal involving intact teeth it is possible that a tooth which had a conservative access cavity and no other problems of tooth structure loss, (previous cavity, filling or breakage) can be remedied with just the placement of a dental filling. A dental filling is also suitable for front teeth (incisors and canines) where the direction of force applied is typically non-axial (away from the axis of the root). Placing a crown on an endodontically treated molar is considered the ‘standard of care’ in dentistry.
Research has demonstrated that the failure rate of teeth receiving root canal treatment without being crowned were lost at a rate 6 times greater than those having dental crowns. We can provide a crown in a single visit using our CEREC technology; the crown is prepared in our office, not sent out to a dental lab.
Call St. Anthony Village Dental Care, 612-781-9270. Dr. Osterbauer can help you decide which option is best for you in restoring a tooth after a root canal treatment.