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Will a Dental Crown Be Necessary After a Root Canal?
A dental crown is one type of tooth reinforcement that may be required following a root canal procedure. A root canal involves removing the infected pulp of a tooth in an attempt to salvage it. Although the pulp is replaced with a suitable material, removing it can weaken the tooth, as can the drilling required for the procedure. Some sort of tooth reinforcement is required after every root canal. Some teeth require a dental crown, while others need only have a filling.
When does a tooth require a dental crown?
The answer to this question depends partly on the tooth affected and partly on the patient's preference.
The teeth most susceptible to damage following a root canal are those in the back primarily used for chewing. These include the molars and the premolars, sometimes known collectively as the grinding teeth. Regularly chewing up food subjects these teeth to enormous pressure. A filling may not be enough to reinforce one of these teeth after a root canal. Therefore, it may require a dental crown to fully protect it.
The incisors and canine teeth in the front of the mouth are used primarily for biting rather than chewing. Therefore, they are not under as much pressure and may be less likely to fail following the root canal. A filling may be an adequate means of reinforcement for these teeth.
However, it is common for teeth to change color following a root canal. This can be conspicuous if the tooth is visible in the front of the mouth. A patient concerned about oral aesthetics may wish to get a crown to reinforce the tooth rather than a filling. A crown can restore the tooth's natural color in addition to protecting it from damage.
What are the benefits of a dental crown after a root canal?
A patient may opt for a crown following a root canal regardless of whether it is required. In addition to the advantages already discussed, a crown also offers the following benefits:
1. Prevents recontamination
While a root canal has many advantages, it does leave the tooth's surface more susceptible to infection. The mouth contains hundreds of bacteria, some with disease-causing potential. By covering the surface entirely, a crown protects the tooth and prevents recontamination.
2. Protects from sensitivity
Retained nerves can become sensitive to heat, cold, sugar, acid and/or pressure following a root canal. This can make normal eating and drinking unbearable or at least very uncomfortable for the patient. By covering a tooth completely, a crown protects it from elements that can provoke sensitivity and pain.
3. Prevents recurring issues
Every treatment a patient has for tooth decay puts them at risk for further issues in the future. By covering and protecting the tooth, a crown helps to decrease the risk.
Some teeth require dental crowns after root canal procedures. For others, fillings are sufficient tooth reinforcement. However, patients may opt for crowns even when not required for aesthetic or convenience purposes.
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