If you are wondering whether you can get a root canal without a crown, you have come to the right place.
One by one, this post will explain the circumstances that may or may not require you to have a crown after your root canal cosmetic dental treatment.
Let’s get right to the point.
6 top reasons people have dental crowns
1. Dental crowns help restore the shape and size of your decayed teeth.
2. They make your weak teeth strong again. Zirconia or porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns treat decayed teeth at the back of your mouth. They can supply you with the force your mouth needs to chew food.
3. Crowns also restore your appearance. Nobody wants to walk around with a missing tooth in front of the mouth.
4. You choose crowns if you have a cracked or fractured tooth. Without a dental crown, a fractured tooth may fall apart, leading to further dental complications.
5. If you have undergone dental implant treatment, you will need crowns to sit on the implants.
6. Finally, if you do not cover your broken teeth with crowns, bacteria may leak into the cracks and destroy your teeth and their roots. The danger may soon spread to your good teeth, challenging your oral condition.
Where do root canals fit in all this?
Root canals are pretty simple procedures compared to dental implants.
The procedure includes the following steps:
1. Cleaning and numbing the infected tooth. A local anesthetic called procaine is used to numb the area of the tooth.
2. Creating an opening to the tooth’s pulp. The pulp is the innermost layer of your tooth. It contains blood vessels and nerves. Infected pulp does not heal on its own. That’s why you need root canal treatment.
If you don’t want root canal treatment, your only option is tooth extraction.
3. Filling the canal with a permanent material. The material is called Gutta-Percha. It is a thermoplastic material obtained from a Malaysian tree called percha tree. It is electrically nonconductive and biologically inert, so it does not readily react within the human body.
4. Inserting a post into the canal for additional support. You need a post if more than half of the crown is damaged. The post is cemented inside the canal of the tooth’s root.
The post may be made of titanium, zirconia, carbon fiber, or stainless steel.
5. Filling the opening on the tooth.
7 situations when you need a crown after a root canal
Now that you know what the root canal procedure involves, it may be easier to understand when exactly you may need a crown after it.
Let us consider the following situations:
1: Your tooth is fragile
There are reasons to think that your affected tooth is now fragile.
First, you saw a dentist and underwent root canal treatment for a reason. Your tooth was affected and weak.
Secondly, your dentist had to create an opening into that tooth as part of the procedure. That opening had further weakened the structural rigidity of the tooth.
That means you have a case here for requiring a crown.
2: You had a root canal before
If you have had a root canal before, it would be easier for your dentist to identify the location of your treatment.
But it may require you to have a crown.
How long do root canals last? 20 years. Longer if you maintain good oral hygiene. Or less than that if something goes wrong.
For example, you had another infection from another injury or trauma.
Or medication for an unrelated illness did not go well with your body.
If you did not have a root canal before, your dentist might have to make a larger opening into your pulp to locate the infection to treat your teeth. That will make the tooth structurally weak.
You may need a crown to protect your teeth in this case as well.
3: You had another bacterial attack
Can a tooth with a root canal be a victim of bacterial attack again?
Although it is sad, bacteria can leak into your teeth and weaken its root again.
One reason for this is the continuous deterioration of your tooth’s health. Any opening between your dentin and the filling may accelerate that process.
To prevent this, dentists often recommend crowns after root canals.
4: Your root canal is on a tooth at the back of your mouth
Teeth at the back of your mouth require withstanding huge force. These teeth help you chew food.
That force is so acute that even all-porcelain crowns may crack under it. That is why dentists mostly recommend zirconia, metal, or porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns for those teeth.
An open filling at that location does not make much practical sense. You need a crown after your root canal treatment.
5: Your teeth are sensitive
If your tooth may become sensitive to heat or cold after the treatment. If your teeth are historically sensitive, they may turn more sensitive for being thinner.
Your dentist may recommend crowns for you in such a situation.
6: You want your tooth to match your remaining natural teeth
As discussed above, a tooth with a root canal will have a thin outer wall around the filling. Compared to other teeth, it may look dull or even discolored.
That may not be a problem if your root canal is on a tooth at the back of your mouth.
But if it is on one of the front teeth, and if you want it to match your other teeth, your dentist will recommend having a crown.
Understand that teeth get much of their color from the pulp inside them. The main purpose of your root canal was to remove the intoxicated pulp from the canal of your damaged tooth.
7: You grind your teeth
Many of us grind or clench our teeth. Sometimes we even do not know that we do such things.
If you are one of these people, you require a crown following a root canal treatment. Your weak tooth may not take the pressure put on it because of grinding.
Even if you have a post inside your canal, do not forget that the infection compromised the tooth’s structure.
A crown on your tooth will protect it from breaking down.
4 situations when you may not be recommended a crown after a root canal
1: Your affected tooth is at the front of your mouth. You may not use a crown if you are not worried about your tooth looking dull.
2. Your damaged tooth is already weak. The root canal procedure has made it weaker. Your dentist has to process your tooth to prepare it for a crown.
That process involved filing down or shaving a part of its surface to make room for your crown.
Naturally, that will weaken the tooth further.
Such a weak tooth may not qualify to have a crown on it.
3: Your root canal is on the front tooth. Your tooth has become discolored. Instead of using a crown, you may choose a porcelain veneer.
Veneers are thin. They are custom-made. You can get them in the color or shade you like.
A veneer can be bonded to your tooth in one sitting.
4: You have seen a dentist early in your dental infection. The damage was minimal and not much into the canal.
Your dentist may recommend composite fillings for you.
Root canal without a crown: Final word
You can get a root canal without a crown. But it all depends on your situation.
Talk to your dentist about any anxieties regarding the treatment procedure. Remember, saving your teeth is the main purpose of your treatment.
The average cost of a root canal is between $600 and $900 for the front tooth and between $1000 and $1500 for the back tooth. However, the cost will depend on which city you live in and in which area of your city you live in. Other factors that influence the cost are your dentist’s experience and the clinic’s location. How complicated your treatment is will play a significant role in deciding the total treatment cost. Besides, do not forget the crown’s cost if you need one.
Root canal procedures may further weaken your tooth. Besides, the tooth’s structure may not always allow removing all of the intoxicated pulp from the canal. Your dentist must be experienced enough and have the required advanced equipment to do a good job. If not, you face the risk of reinfection. In addition, the seal may erode or leak with time, requiring you to see your dentist again. Besides, some people are allergic to local anesthesia.