Does Getting a Dental Crown Require a Root Canal?

Does Getting a Dental Crown Require a Root Canal?
Author: Espire Dental Posted: December 2nd, 2023 Category:

Getting a crown doesn’t always require a root canal, and vice versa. But in some instances, you might require both treatments. Here’s what you need to know.

If you think every root canal-treated tooth requires a dental crown — and vice versa — think again. Of the approximately 25 million root canals performed annually, not all need to be capped off with a crown. 

A root canal doesn’t necessitate a crown in every instance. Conversely, a crown can be placed on a tooth without first being treated with a root canal. Ultimately, your dentist will decide whether your tooth requires a crown, a root canal, or both. Let’s review some of the factors that go into the decision.

When is a root canal needed?

When decay reaches deep into the tooth’s pulp, a root canal may be necessary to remove the infection and stop the pain. It’s preferred over an extraction because it preserves most of the natural tooth structure and prevents further bacterial infection. 

The procedure typically takes two visits. During the first, your dentist numbs the area around the tooth and drills into the pulp where the sensitive nerves and blood vessels are contained. Once the decayed portion of the pulp is removed, the pulp and canals are disinfected and filled with a rubbery substance known as gutta-percha. Afterward, you’ll receive a crown or a filling. 

If a crown is needed, your dentist will take an impression of your tooth and send it to a laboratory where the permanent crown will be made. In the meantime, you’ll be fitted with a temporary crown. When the permanent one is ready, you’ll return to the dentist’s office for a final fitting.

When is a crown needed?

It’s not always the case that a crown serves as the final piece of a root canal. Crowns have other purposes. As a restorative procedure, a dental crown builds up a severely fractured or fragile tooth. In those instances, the tooth may not be decayed but needs a crown to support chewing. Crowns are also used for cosmetic purposes to restore discolored or misshapen teeth.

Whatever the reason for the crown, it can last a long time with proper care. One study found that 90 percent of teeth with a crown remained viable after nine years. 

Will you need a crown after a root canal?

Again, not every root canal requires a crown, and vice versa. When deciding, your dentist will consider these factors:

Location. If the root canal is done on a large molar at the back of the mouth, the tooth will usually be completed with a crown. That’s because those teeth need to be strengthened with a crown to absorb the pressure of chewing. Teeth near the front of the mouth, such as incisors and canines, probably will not require a crown after the decay is removed. A filling may do just fine.

Severity. Whether you need a crown depends on the severity of the damage to the tooth. A severely fractured tooth will likely need a crown to make it whole again. If your dentist finds significant decay or infection while performing the root canal, they will opt for a crown. However, if a molar has enough of the tooth structure left after a root canal, it may only require a filling and not a crown.

Condition. If a tooth has undergone several procedures, including a previous root canal, it may be weakened to the point where a crown is the best option. A crown will restore its appearance and functionality.

A root canal and a crown can restore a decayed or broken tooth. But the procedures don’t always go together. Talk to your dentist about which is right for you.

Need a crown? Come to Espire Dental

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Oklahoma City, OK, location today! Our highly trained dentists can check your teeth and decide whether you need a root canal, a crown, or both. Don’t live near our Oklahoma City, OK, office? Find one of our other locations near you.

Oklahoma City, OK
12448 St Andrews Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK 73120