Crowns And Root Canal Treatment

A crown is a false tooth. It’s placed over a natural tooth, ground down because of decay or damage of some sort, or it’s just too weak because of numerous fillings.

A root canal is a way to preserve a portion of a tooth, after decay or damage has reached the nerve, which is in the root.

A small hole is drilled in the tooth. And all the dead nerves, blood vessels and debris from each canal in the tooth are removed. The roots are then reshaped and any and all infection is removed. Then they are refilled with material like the pulp that was there.

The two often accompany each other, but not always. The dentist will ascertain certain things before advising you on the treatment you should have.

Why would you need the crown?

Usually, crowns are called for when a tooth gets cracked or broken, or are so decayed that filling it would compromise the tooth. Also, crowns are used to hold a bridge in place.

If the crack is just in the top of the tooth, or a small piece near the top is broken off, it may not be necessary. And again, if the decay is entirely above the gum line, it probably can be cleaned out without a root canal.

Why would you need a root canal?

Perhaps the crack in the tooth or the cavity extends into the root. Then a root canal can be your best, and actually only, option to save that tooth, or part of it. And for a crown, part of the original tooth needs to be there.

Root canals are usually highly dreaded in the general population. But new methods make it so much better than it used to be. It can actually be done in one visit to the dentist or endodontist, rather than two, as before. And it’s now virtually painless.

So, in a word, no. It’s not absolutely necessary to have a root canal before a crown. But if there’s the slightest possibility of that tooth nerve being affected, you’re much better off getting the root canal first. And a cracked root isn’t always obvious on an x-ray. If it’s discovered after the crown is put on, then the crown will have to be removed, which isn’t easy.

If you have crowns to stabilize a bridge, there’s probably no need of a root canal, since there may be no decay or damage to those teeth.

Sometimes you can have a root canal, but not need a crown. That happens if sealing the tooth after the root canal has solved the problem, and the tooth is in good shape otherwise.

Listen to your dentist. Only a dental professional will know what is needed. And if you need a root canal, remember, it’s no problem anymore.