Monday, March 25, 2013

Why Crown A Root Canal Treated Tooth

Many often wonder if it's absolutely necessary to crown a tooth after it has been treated with a root canal. Well, nothing is absolutely necessary. It all depends on the desired outcome. If losing a tooth is not of much concern, then a crown is not necessary. It all depends on each person's priorities. If the desired outcome is to keep the tooth for as long as possible and hopefully for a person's entire lifespan, then YES, a crown is necessary.
Take a look at the chart below. Here we see that the percentage of teeth that fracture is significantly higher when the tooth is not protected with a crown. These percentages change depending on the timeframe we're looking at. I got the chart from Google Images and therefore do not know what timeline we're looking at.

I see numerous fractured teeth almost daily in my practices. People often ask how long they have until the tooth will fracture after a root canal if a crown is not placed to protect it. I cannot answer this question with preciseness. It may take as little as a couple hours or it may take years. One thing is certain though, as time increases, the percentage of teeth that fracture also increases. So if we want to keep a tooth for many years to come, then a crown is absolutely necessary.

A common occurrence when a crown  is not placed

So why is a root canal treated tooth more susceptible to fracture when not crowned?

In the diagram below, we see a depiction of a tooth treated endodontically (with a root canal). Here we see a hollow tooth. The problem with this is that when subjected to chewing forces, microfractures develop at the weakest points. These fractures spread just as windshield fractures do. The fracture will inevitably spread. A crown encompasses the tooth and redistributes the forces. This will protect the tooth from undesirable forces and thus significantly prevents fractures.

Weakened tooth structure

In conclusion, if you place enough value on your smile and your ability to chew food adequately, then you must a crown a tooth that has been treated with a root canal.

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit


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  2. Thanks a lot of easy to grab information. I have started my career as a beginner Torrance dentist and this post proved to be very knowledgeable. Thanks once again.

  3. Wow, I can't imagine the pain associated with a fractured tooth! My mom is in excruciating pain. I'm helping her find someone to get a root canal done.

  4. Well Written!.. To understand a Root Canal Treatment Plantation, it helps to know about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, and helps to grow the root of your tooth during development. In a fully developed tooth, the tooth can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.

    Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth. Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.