It is important to remember that after a root canal procedure, additionally treatment may still be needed on a tooth. Root canals are aimed at addressing pain and infection inside the tooth. While this can create a stable foundation, treatments such as permanent fillings or crowns may be necessary afterwards to reestablish the outside structure, esthetics, and function of a tooth. A simple way of looking at this is that root canals are below the gum and crowns and fillings are above the gum. These treatments can be completed as soon as the same day or as late as several months after the root canal procedure. Generally when referred to a root canal specialist (endodontist), the root canal will be completed and a temporary filling material will be placed to cover the root filling material. The patient is then referred back to his or her general dentist to have the tooth permanently restored.
If you’re wondering what exactly a crown is, then you are not alone; this is a common question we get in our office. A crown is a lab fabricated cover on a tooth. This cover resembles a tooth and is permanently cemented on. Crowns are custom fit to each tooth and the shape and color can be customized to maximize its esthetics. Crowns surround teeth circumferentially and cover the chewing surface. This reduces stress on a weakened tooth, and protects it against trauma and chewing forces.
According to the AAE (American Association of Endodontists), Whether or not you will need a crown after the root canal depends greatly on the position of the tooth in the mouth. Teeth in the back of the mouth are used mostly for chewing and benefit greatly from the strength a crown provides. Teeth towards the front of the mouth are used less for heavy chewing and a crown may not be indicated for some of these teeth. The need for a crown is typically determined by the amount of remaining tooth structure after a root canal. Generally, if more than half of the tooth is gone, a crown is indicated to restore the tooth's structural integrity. Additionally if the tooth is cracked, a crown may be important to reduce the chance of further cracking occurring. According to Aquilino, root canaled teeth not crowned were six times as likely to be lost than those with crowns. The evidence is clear, crowning your tooth after a root canal is important to maintain the tooth long term. So don't forget to make an appointment with your general dentist to restore your tooth after your root canal appointment!
Here at Dominion Endodontics, all of our providers are highly-trained endodontists. We use special equipment including 3D CT imaging, microscopes and ultrasonic instruments to achieve the best results for our patients. Root canals are our specialty! For our patients with dental anxiety, we also offer sedation for a more comfortable visit. If you are experiencing dental pain or infection, seek consultation with one of our specialists. Our three offices in Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church serve patients from all of Northern Virginia and the greater Washington DC area. Please call our office or book an appointment online today.