Do I need to Crown my Root Canal Treated Tooth? : Dr Apphia
When a dental cavity is left untreated or unnoticed, it can progress to the deeper parts of the tooth and reach the pulp (where the blood vessels and nerves are). Since a cavity is full of bacteria, the pulp gets infected and inflamed, causing a toothache. Eventually, the tooth dies and the pain becomes on and off or disappears.
A root canal would mean that you would be able to save your tooth as once an adult tooth is extracted, a new one would not grow back. Although extraction is cheaper, it may cost a lot more in the long term especially when you have to replace the missing tooth with a dental bridge or implant.
There are only two treatment options for a tooth in this situation: to do a root canal, or to extract.
Once a root canal has been completed, the tooth is considered clean but ‘dead’, meaning it does not have as much elasticity as an alive tooth. The tooth becomes brittle and does not withstand biting forces as strongly as a healthy tooth with no fillings does.
Aside from that, the filling material used to ‘close up’ the tooth can eventually ‘leak’, allowing bacteria to go in and reinfect an already root canal-treated tooth.
You can look at it this way:
A root canal treated tooth without a crown would be able to last maybe 10 years before it gets reinfected or breaks. The same tooth with a crown would be able to last 20-30 years.
If the tooth gets reinfected, another root canal can be attempted but with a lower success rate. If it breaks, we may have no choice but to remove the tooth.
Every human body is different, there is no exact guarantee on how long anything would last, but a crown would definitely increase the likelihood of the tooth lasting longer.
In the end, if you choose not to have a crown, we as dentists will always respect our patients’ decisions. We just want all of our patients to be informed of risks and possibilities so that we can avoid any regrets.
If you ever are in doubt or have questions, please ask us, we’ll be very happy to answer them for you 🙂