Root canals are relatively straightforward procedures performed daily at endodontist offices throughout the country. The process of removing the dead pulp and other organic material from inside a tooth has been perfected by endodontists. Thanks to state-of-the-art technology, it is possible to clear out what needs to be excavated from a tooth quickly and effectively. However, if you have recently been informed of your need to undergo a root canal, you likely have several questions.
One such question is, do you need a crown after a root canal? After all, a dentist or endodontist will go through the top or side of the tooth (depending on the tooth in question), which naturally requires some sort of hole to be drilled into the tooth. While your case is unique and your dentist or endodontist can answer this question specifically, here are the basics of a root canal and what happens when it is time to seal off the tooth.
Do You Need a Crown After a Root Canal?
It depends, a crown is not always necessary following a root canal. Thanks to the improvement in root canal procedure technology, the hole drilled into a tooth are no larger than when clearing and removing a cavity. Because of this, the repair process is very similar to repairing a cavity.
Once all the pulp and dead organic material has been removed, the root canal system will be filled, and a permanent filling will be applied. Depending on the tooth’s location, a whitening agent might first be injected to keep the tooth looking brilliant and healthy, just like the surrounding teeth (although this is usually only performed when the tooth is visible when talking or smiling).
With the whitening agent in place and the hole filled in, your tooth will look and feel just like every other tooth in your mouth, all without the aid of a crown.
When is a Crown Needed After a Root Canal
Now, simply applying a filling to cover the hole of the tooth isn’t always a viable option. It is still important to protect the integrity of the tooth. This is why there are times when a crown might be needed. Additionally, determining if you need a crown until after the procedure may not be fully possible. However, your endodontist will have a good idea, thanks to X-rays, where it is possible to determine the strength and integrity of the tooth.
If following the root canal, the tooth itself is too weak and a large amount of internal material was removed, it may be in your best interest to have a crown put in place. You don’t want to shatter your tooth when chewing on something hard, and a crown protects you from this.
There are times when a root canal is necessary because a cavity was not addressed soon enough, and the cavity burrowed deep into the tooth and into the root system. When this happens, the tooth’s exterior is already compromised, and with the removal of the dead pulp from inside, the tooth will be fragile. In this instance, a crown will be needed.
Now, there are times when a tooth will become discolored, and no whitening agent can correct the color. For example, if you had a root canal performed on one of your front teeth and, over time, you notice the tooth is changing colors. This likely isn’t because of any brushing problems, but instead, the tooth’s interior is turning darker, which is then shown through the tooth’s enamel. Your dentist may try to apply another whitening agent, but if this doesn’t work, you will need something placed over the top to match the tooth with the surrounding teeth. At times, a veneer is a viable option, especially for the front teeth. Other times, a crown might be needed to cover the discolored tooth.
Schedule A Root Canal Appointment With Your Local Endodontist
When it comes to root canals, your best bet is to schedule an appointment with your local endodontist specialist. While a general dentist can perform some root canals, they often do not have all the latest technology designed specifically for root canals. At Southern Endodontic Specialists, we have the latest technology designed to enhance our ability to perform any root canal. Additionally, this is a procedure we perform daily, giving us the practice, education, and experience to perform your root canal.
So, whether you have been told you need a root canal or suspect it is the case, now is the time to schedule an appointment with our staff. Give our staff a call, or fill out a request form on our website. However you wish to contact us, we look forward to serving you and your smile.