When you have tooth decay and other dental problems, the first thing you may consider is having the affected teeth removed altogether. However, there is one dental procedure that can actually help salvage your teeth: the root canal.
Your dentist may recommend this endodontic treatment if you suffer from severe pain when biting or chewing. It can also be the go-to treatment for a cracked or chipped tooth, the emergence of pimples on the gums, and a lingering hypersensitivity to temperature. It can also be used to treat swollen, tender, or darkening gums that are deep in decay.
Root canals save millions of teeth every year. This procedure involves the removal and disinfection of the infected or inflamed pulp. After that, your dentist would place a restorative device to protect or restore the tooth into its original state, which often comes in the form of a dental crown.
However, not all root canals require a crown. In this article, you will learn the most important information about how these two dental treatments work and why you may need them.
How Are Root Canal and Crowns Linked?
Having a root canal doesn’t necessarily require you to have a dental crown implanted on your tooth. However, you may need an endodontic treatment performed first before having a crown placed.
This is because root canals help treat your toothache by removing the infected or inflamed pulp, disinfecting the inside of the natural teeth, and are filled with a rubber-like material known as gutta-percha. This strengthens the teeth while getting rid of the bacteria that cause tooth decay.
After many root canal procedures, dentists often recommend the placement of crowns over the teeth, especially if they have a high risk of fracturing. Crowns also help bring back the original appearance of the teeth.
When to Use Dental Crowns
Dental crowns are prosthetic dental devices that are affixed onto existing teeth to “cap” or cover a damaged tooth or implant. There are several instances when a dental crown is the most suitable choice, including:
- Weak tooth – Crowns can help prevent further damage to weak teeth from cracking or decay.
- Broken tooth – Chipped or broken teeth can be restored to their original state with the help of dental crowns.
- Tooth filling – Teeth that are filled need a dental crown for support, especially when there’s not much of the natural tooth left.
- Dental bridge – Crowns also help keep dental bridges in place.
- Discolored and misshapen teeth – Teeth that are severely misshapen and discolored can also benefit from dental crowns.
- Dental implant – Implants need to be covered by dental crowns for protection.
- Cosmetic reasons – Dental crowns can also be used to improve the appearance of teeth.
5 Types of Dental Crowns
There are several materials that can be used for dental crowns, including stainless steel, metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal, all-ceramic or all-porcelain, and resin.
Dental crowns made of stainless steel can be used as a temporary measure for permanent teeth. They can be replaced with a crown made from another material that would blend in better with the rest of the teeth.
Metals like alloys with high platinum or gold content can also be used for dental crowns. This type of prosthetic device is more durable than most materials and can withstand wear-and-tear better. It also rarely breaks or chips, even with excessive biting or chewing.
However, its major drawback is its color. The metallic hue doesn’t blend well with natural teeth, which is why this type of crown material is commonly recommended for the innermost molars that are out of sight.
Porcelain fused to metal (PFM)
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are the first go-to option for people who want to maintain a beautiful smile. It can be matched to the color of the adjacent teeth, allowing it to blend in more easily, except for the dark line along the gums that make up its metal parts.
However, this type of material is more likely to show signs of wear compared to metal- and resin-made crowns. The porcelain parts of this crown are also prone to breakage, especially with excessive chewing or biting.
This type of crown is best used for keeping bridges intact because of its metal component (for durability) as well as for covering the front or back teeth.
All ceramic or all porcelain
All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns are the closest match to the natural color of the teeth. They are also perfect for people who have metal allergies. Because of its appearance, this type of dental crown can be used in the front and back teeth.
Resin dental crowns are the least expensive of all materials listed in this article. However, they tend to be more prone to breakage, even more than PFM dental crowns.
Root canal procedures don’t necessarily need dental crowns. But if you wish to keep your teeth looking closely like they did before the root canal, it will do you good to have dental crowns installed. Of course, you must always consult your dentist first.