Is It Normal To Need A Root Canal After A Crown?

Is It Normal To Need A Root Canal After A Crown?

Jun 01, 2022

While unfortunate, your teeth can get chipped, cracked, broken, or discolored due to old age, dental trauma, or decay, among other factors. When your tooth is significantly damaged, a dental crown is often the last resort to saving your tooth. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped dental cap that is placed over a damaged tooth to repair it.

Unlike most restorations such as dental bonding and veneers, a crown covers the entire visible structure of the tooth, restoring its strength, size, shape, and appearance. In some cases, your dentist might recommend getting a root canal before placing the crown. This helps to eliminate any infection inside the tooth.

What is root canal therapy?

A root canal therapy is a dental procedure of removing infected and decayed tissues from the tooth’s pulp. During the treatment, the dentist drills through the tooth and removes all the decayed pulp tissues. Next, the tooth is thoroughly rinsed, disinfected, and sealed to prevent re-infection. Often, a dental crown is placed at this stage to strengthen and protect the tooth further. In most cases, a root canal is performed before placing the dental crown.

Performing a root canal after a dental crown

While the crown can protect the tooth’s outer layer, it does not protect its pulp. A tooth’s pulp is the innermost part of the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels that nourish the tooth. If bacteria or plaque are trapped under the crown, or new bacteria find their way past the crown, the tooth’s pulp can become infected.

When this happens, your dentist will likely recommend performing root canal therapy to get rid of the infected and maintain the tooth’s integrity. The dentist will have to remove the crown and clean the infected pulp. If such a tooth is not treated, the infection will likely spread further, eventually leading to tooth and crown loss.

Reasons for a root canal on a crowned tooth

In most cases, especially if your tooth’s enamel was compromised, the dentist will always perform a root canal to remove any plaque or bacteria before placing a dental crown. This prevents the risk of trapping any infection under the crown, which could cause the need for a root canal treatment on the crowned tooth.

Still, a tooth can become infected after placing a dental crown for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The tooth was not cleaned thoroughly before placing the crown – curved and narrow may be difficult to clean.
  • Delayed placement of the permanent crown. In some cases, the dentist delays the placement of the dental crown to allow the tooth to heal correctly. During the waiting period, bacteria can re-enter the tooth, causing infection.
  • Salivary contamination during the procedure may lead to infection.
  • Damaged crown. If your crown gets loose, cracks, or breaks, it’s likely to expose your tooth to a new infection.

When a root canal can’t be performed after a crown

While a root canal treatment is possible on a crowned tooth, there are exceptions. Your dentist can recommend against a root canal treatment if the damage or decay is too advanced. A severely damaged tooth might not have enough structure to hold a dental crown sufficiently. Similarly, if the dentist notices further damage, such as a root fracture, the only remedy would be to extract the tooth. Afterward, you can replace the tooth with an implant, bridge, or dentures.

Visit a dentist near you or contact our dentist near Gilbert to determine whether your tooth can be treated with a root canal if you have an existing crown.

How to prevent the need for a root canal after a crown

Good oral hygiene and habits are your best defenses to maintaining good oral health and preventing the need for multiple dental restorations. To care for your mouth and crowned teeth:

  • Brush and floss daily, thoroughly and gently
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Avoid abrasive oral products
  • Avoid chewing on hard and sticky items such as candy, nails, pens, and nuts
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
  • Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings
  • Notify your dentist immediately if your restorations get damaged
  • Wear a nightguard for bruxism
  • Wear a sports guards during contact sports

Schedule an Appointment Today

For more information about dental crowns and root canal treatment, contact Town Square Dental to schedule your appointment.