Will I Need a Crown After My Root Canal?

When you have a root canal done, your endodontist will clear out infected material from inside your tooth to ease pain and prevent serious infections. After cleaning your tooth, your endodontist will close it back up to prevent more infections, and you might have a dental crown placed on it. Learning more about dental crowns, including when they’re used after root canals, can help you understand what to expect with this kind of procedure.


What Are Dental Crowns?

Dental crowns are caps or coverings that are placed on teeth to protect them following certain procedures or traumas. Injuries or invasive procedures can leave openings in your tooth, which allow bacteria to enter. Bacteria can then cause an infection to develop, which could become widespread or serious. Covering the affected tooth with a dental crown helps keep bacteria out, resulting in a lower risk of infections.


Dental Crowns and Root Canals

Not everyone will need a crown after having a root canal done. This mainly depends on the type of tooth that was treated. Molars and other teeth that are needed for chewing typically require a dental crown after root canals. This helps ensure that you’re able to chew food without pain or other issues while your tooth heals. When these teeth don’t have a crown put on, chewing or biting down after a root canal can cause pain to occur and make it difficult to eat.

Teeth in other areas of your mouth, such as canines or incisors, might not need to have a dental crown placed on them. You don’t rely on these teeth as much for chewing or biting food, so they can usually be protected with sealants rather than dental crowns. Sealants are plastic coatings that cover teeth to protect them from bacteria.


Types of Dental Crowns

Different types of dental crowns are used to protect teeth after root canals. Traditional dental crowns fully cover teeth, while onlays and 3/4 crowns only cover part of a tooth instead of the entire tooth. Onlays and 3/4 crowns are sometimes used when the rest of your tooth structure is in good condition. Your endodontist reshapes the affected tooth to prepare it for this type of crown. If your tooth is not in good condition and needs full protection, your endodontist is much more likely to place a traditional dental crown on it. This crown can provide your tooth with the protection it needs from additional infections or other issues.


Dental Crown Materials

Dental crowns are available in different materials. Each kind of material has its advantages and disadvantages. Your endodontist can recommend the right type of dental crown material for your tooth.

Metal dental crowns can be made of nickel, gold, chromium, palladium, or other types of metal. You might have a metal dental crown if your tooth is a molar since these teeth aren’t visible when you open your mouth to talk or eat. While metal dental crowns are highly durable and can handle chewing and biting, their metallic coloring can be a disadvantage for visible teeth.

Porcelain crowns provide an option for visible teeth since they can be made to closely match your natural tooth color. However, they’re not as durable as metal dental crowns. Some crowns are made of porcelain fused to metal, which provides natural coloring with better durability, although the porcelain part can wear off.

Ceramic dental crowns can be made with all-ceramic or pressed ceramic that has a tough inner structure. A pressed ceramic crown can provide more durability than a crown made entirely of ceramic. These crowns can be capped using porcelain to help ensure a close match to your natural tooth color.

Resin dental crowns typically cost less than other materials, but they also don’t last as long. 


What to Expect with Dental Crowns

If you end up needing a dental crown after your root canal, your endodontist will let you know which type. You might have a temporary dental crown put on your tooth until your permanent crown is ready. You’ll then go back to your endodontist to have the permanent crown placed on your tooth. You should follow all of your post-procedural care instructions to help ensure that your tooth heals. For example, you might be advised to avoid chewing with that tooth if it has a temporary crown on it. Dental crowns usually don’t require special care besides brushing to remove food and bacteria. However, they can become loose or damaged in some cases. You should seek care if you have any problems with your dental crown after your root canal.

If you need more information on root canals and dental crowns, please contact Largo Endodontics. We can provide you with additional information and make an appointment for you with our endodontist, Dr. Ernest Rillman, if you’ve been experiencing ongoing tooth pain.