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Do You Always Need a Crown after a Root Canal Treatment?

Root canal treatment is often successful at repairing and saving an infected or severely damaged tooth. A crown can be used to restore your tooth after the procedure. But is it always necessary?

What is a Crown?

dental crown

A crown is a realistic-looking artificial tooth that is placed over a tooth. It covers the tooth and is usually recommended by dentists because it restores the tooth to its normal size, shape and function. It makes the tooth stronger and improves the way it looks. A dental crown may be needed to protect a weak tooth from breaking and to support and cover a tooth with a large filling.

A tooth that has had a root canal treatment may also need a crown. In this case, it will protect the restored tooth. Crowns can be made from porcelain, gold or porcelain fused to metal. Crowns made of porcelain or porcelain fused to metal can be color-matched to the other teeth.

Why should you get a crown after a successful root canal treatment?

A root canal may save a tooth from further infection, but it does not save the tooth from weakening. Coupled with tooth decay, a root canal procedure weakens the tooth by reducing the amount of healthy tissue within it. To stop the tooth from disintegrating, a dentist will recommend restoring the tooth with a dental crown. A dental crown is needed after a root canal:

1. When the tooth becomes weakened

Tooth decay as well as having a large amount of dental tissue removed during a root canal weakens a tooth. Combined, decay and a root canal will leave the tooth at risk of crumbling when subjected to the pressure of chewing and grinding.

A crown will cover the tooth, reinforce its outer structure and keep it from crumbling.

2. When the tooth becomes sensitive

Sometimes, only part of the pulp needs to be removed during a root canal. Whatever remains may be extremely sensitive to heat, cold, pressure, acid and sugar. Fitting a crown covers the tooth and protects it from the elements.

3. When the tooth becomes discolored

Tooth decay or a root canal may cause the tooth to become discolored. In such a case, a crown should be placed for cosmetic reasons.

4. When a tooth has been restored before

If a root canal is performed on a tooth that had already been treated for tooth decay, then chances are high that the tooth will have another issue in the future. Placing a crown covers the tooth completely and will prevent future infections from occurring.

When is it OK to leave the tooth without a dental crown?

Because crowns are meant to protect the tooth from falling apart when subjected to the pressure of grinding, they are necessary for the restoration of the back teeth. The front teeth are not put under as much pressure as the molars. After a root canal, they can simply be restored with dental filling and left without a crown. However, the front tooth may gradualy become discolored over time due to the root canal treatment, it will likely need a crown for cosmetic purpose at a later stage.

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