Tooth decay is more common than you think, with around 26% of adults suffering from untreated tooth decay. Untreated tooth decay can lead to a variety of problems, including tooth loss.
If tooth decay is a problem for you, your dentist might suggest you get root canals and crowns to improve the health of your teeth. It’s not always required to get a root canal done when you have a crown, but most often you’ll need a crown when you get a root canal. So, what’s the difference?
This guide will go over everything you need to know about root canals and crowns. We’ll discuss why you would need both procedures done instead of one of them.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is needed when a cavity reaches the pulp, or nerve, of your tooth. The procedure removes the soft tissues located inside of your tooth. It’s typically conducted when your tooth gets damaged or infected to the point where the inside of the pulp chamber is exposed to harmful things inside of your mouth like bacteria.
When the pulp gets infected, it can start to affect the surrounding bone, resulting in an abscess. This is extremely painful and will require dental intervention since it can’t heal on its own.
Signs that the pulp is infected include:
- Sensitivity to sweets or hot/col
- Pain to pressure or biting
- Bad taste in your mouth
The signs will alert you on when to get a root canal. Sometimes you don’t notice any symptoms and you’re unaware of a problem until you go to the dentist.
During the procedure, your dentist will drill a hole into the affected tooth. Files of various widths are used to extract what’s inside of the pulp chamber. The dentist seals the whole with a crown and rubber material for stability.
What is a Crown?
A dental crown is used to enhance and restore missing or damaged teeth. The crown covers an entire tooth above the gum line. In addition to providing strength to your tooth, it can improve its alignment, shape, and appearance.
Crowns are used in the following types of scenarios:
- Preventing a weak tooth from fracturing
- Replacing a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth structure left
- Attaching a bridge
- Restoring a fractured tooth
- Covering a dental implant
- Covering a tooth that’s had a root canal
- Covering a poorly shaped or discolored tooth
Crowns are often performed as a procedure by themselves but they remedy a variety of dental issues.
When Do I Need a Crown Without a Root Canal?
Crowns are used to help people achieve whiter teeth. Certain stains, like ones caused by overexposure to fluoride or tooth decay, can’t be removed with traditional teeth whitening treatments. Crowns are used in those types of situations to cover discolored teeth.
Some chips and breaks don’t open up the tooth’s pulp chamber, so you wouldn’t need a root canal. The enamel is broken off during those types of injuries, so a crown protects your tooth to prevent sensitivity.
For some patients, a dental bridge is a better option for tooth replacement. The two teeth on each side of the gap typically get crowns during a bridge procedure. This strengthens the anchoring teeth as they prepare for the bridge.
When Wouldn’t I Need a Crown With a Root Canal?
As we mentioned before, a crown is typically the final step in a root canal as it seals and strengthens the tooth. However, a crown isn’t necessary in each case. If the affected tooth or teeth are in the front of the mouth, you might not need a crown since the teeth are fairly strong.
For canine or incisor teeth that are still fairly intact, a root canal without a crown might work just fine for your teeth. The teeth in the front of your mouth don’t get as much physical stress as your molars and premolars. That’s because they’re not used for chewing.
Molars and premolars that have a low fracture risk might also be suitable for only a filling after your root canal. Composite or silver fillings can provide a strong chewing surface and seal when a large amount of your tooth remains. Whether or not you need a crown with a root canal depends upon the location and health of the affected tooth.
How to Improve the Health of Your Teeth
While there are certain issues that are hard to avoid, there are certain steps you can take to help improve your chances of never needing a root canal.
One thing you should do is brush your teeth twice each day. Brush for at least two minutes each session. Make sure you brush your inner cheeks, gums, and tongue as well.
You should also floss at least once a day, especially after meals. When you floss, you remove bacteria and food particles from areas that your toothbrush can’t reach. This helps prevent tooth decay and bad breath.
Make an appointment twice a year with your dentist for teeth cleaning. Dentists and dental hygienists can remove built-up bacteria and plague that you might’ve missed with your toothbrush. They’re also able to detect potential problems early before they get to the point of needing a root canal.
If your dentist does detect a cavity, get it treated immediately. If it’s left untreated, the bacteria and damage will continue to spread. This could cause nerve damage and require a root canal to fix.
Contact Logan Dental Care for Root Canals and Crowns
As you can see, there are a variety of scenarios that would require a crown but not a root canal. Depending upon the health of your affected teeth, you might need a root canal. A crown will provide extra strength to your tooth in that type of situation, but your dentist can provide you with a personalized recommendation.
Contact Logan Dental Care to make an appointment. All of our procedures are gentle and pain-free, ensuring you have your dental work done in a relaxing and calm environment.