The Relationship Between Crowns and Root Canals

The Relationship Between Crowns and Root Canals

There’s a lot of confusion about the relationship between crowns and root canals.  Does a crown cause a root canal?  If you have a root canal, do you need a crown?  What exactly are a crown and root canal?  Read on for the details.

What is a crown?

A crown is a tooth-like device that covers or “caps” a compromised tooth.  Depending on the material used (often porcelain or ceramic but also sometimes metal alloys, gold or acrylic), it can be matched to the color of your teeth so it blends perfectly into your smile.  Crowns are typically a good fit for teeth that have the following problems:

  • fractured teeth
  • to replace a large filling
  • to cover a dental implant
  • to cover misshapen or discolored teeth
  • to cover a tooth that has had a root canal

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a type of treatment for when a tooth is damaged to the root by infection or injury.  The procedure involves the following steps:

  • Creating an opening through the surface of the tooth down to the root.
  • Removing the infected or otherwise unhealthy tissue (called “pulp”).
  • Refilling the canals.
  • Rebuilding the tooth.
  • Placing a crown.

Does a crown sometimes cause a need for a root canal?

Yes and no.  A crown is placed on a tooth that has suffered some sort of trauma.  Because a crown is less invasive, if your dentist believes the health of the root of your tooth is good, a crown may be placed initially.

However, it’s also true that the placement of a crown in and of itself can be traumatic enough to tip the scale, so to speak, toward creating inflammation that would require a root canal.  But it’s important to note that in these situations, the tooth was already compromised by the injury, so the crown is not really “at fault” for creating the need for a root canal.

Will a crowned tooth always need a root canal?

Many times, a root canal is not needed until many, many years later, and the majority of crowned teeth never need a root canal at all.  A crown is a wonderful option for many types of tooth issues, and a root canal is another excellent procedure for saving and healing a tooth when the situation calls for it.

Crowns and Root Canals by Reel Dental