We’ve all heard about the infamous root canal therapy. Whether we like it or not, these procedures can be a game-changer. Your natural teeth could be saved, and pain you might have been in is eliminated, and your dental nightmares would be over. However, just as the actual root canal treatment is crucial, the aftercare treatment is just as important. Typically, many endodontists and dentists recommend making an appointment to get a crown about 1-2 weeks after a root canal because it can help strengthen the tooth. Without a crown, the tooth could begin to break down or fracture shortly after the treatment…and could mean losing the tooth. The decision is ultimately up to your general dentist so we always recommend contacting them immediately after treatment. 

5 Integral Steps

To ease any concerns, here are the 5 steps in the root canal and crown process that you should be expecting during your visit:

  1. The patient will receive local anesthesia in the mouth
  2. An endodontist will access the interior of your tooth by creating an opening in the biting surface of the tooth.  If the tooth already has a crown, the endodontist will access through the existing crown.
  3. Then the endodontist will be removing any infection and pulp tissue in the tooth and disinfecting the pump chamber and canals. 
  4. The canals will be cleaned and filled with an endodontic filling material
  5. Typically, the endodontist will then place a temporary filling in the tooth which will protect the work that was just completed.  It’s then up to you to contact your general dentist for a definitive restoration. 

Depending on which tooth you receive the treatment on, placing a crown over your recently treated tooth provides a more durable, long-lasting solution. Read on to learn more about the 

Top 8 Reasons to Get a Crown After a Root Canal 

1. Maintain A Strong Outer Tooth Layer

As glorious as root canal therapy might seem, it also has some drawbacks. Yes, a root canal procedure will save your existing tooth, but in the process of doing so, it will weaken your outer tooth because of the access created in the tooth. Over time, your outer tooth could fracture without the reinforcement of a crown.. A crown will keep the remains of your tooth safe and sound. 

2. Avoid Future Infections

Nobody wants to make a decision that they know will lead to headaches down the road. You wouldn’t purchase a home with structural issues right? It’s just common sense. Now apply this logic to your dental health. By opting for a crown, you are avoiding the issue of a future infection or tooth fracture which could result in tooth extraction. The crown acts as a protective layer that will prevent harmful leakage or bacteria from destroying your tooth and prevent fracture. 

3. Lessen Effects of Bruxism

For those of you with bruxism, you will most definitely want to get a crown. The access created in the tooth to get to the pulp chamber can weaken the tooth, so when you combine this with the chewing and grinding of teeth, it increases the chance of fracture. In some cases, you could end up creating major damage to your already-weakened tooth. 

4. Maintain Your Natural Tooth Color

If the tooth is in the esthetic zone and enough tooth structure is missing or the tooth is already discolored, a crown after a root canal could be the solution. There are many different options for the type/color of crown that you can choose from, so you will certainly be able to ensure that the color of your tooth is restored to a natural look.  Speak with your general dentist about these options. 

5. A More Permanent Solution

Of course, a crown isn’t the only solution. Some situations might just call for a filling, rather than a crown. For example, crowns are most common for premolars and molars, whereas front teeth, canines and incisors, typically require fillings. If a tooth already has a crown, we can typically access through the crown to perform endodontic therapy.  After that, a permanent filling is all you usually need.

6. A Diet With Zero-Restrictions

Yes, that’s right! There’s no need to steer clear of the infamous corn on the cob, sticky caramel apples, or crunchy pretzels once the final restoration is in place.

7. A Perfect Smile

If you have always dreamed of having a perfect set of pearly whites, but feel discouraged by the fact that you are having a root canal procedure, a dental crown could solve this problem. This crown will cover up any tooth imperfections, which can be especially relieving to those of you who are worried about flaunting a potentially discolored or chipped tooth. 

8. A Small Investment Now For A Secure Future Later

Another major reason to get a root canal crown is because you are making an investment in your future oral hygiene health. In general, if you have insurance, your provider will cover around 50-80% of the cost, bringing it to an average of $200-500 out-of-pocket. There is an additional fee for a dental crown, which could add an extra $1000 to your total payment. But remember, your insurance plan will help to reduce this cost by upwards of 50%. This brings the after-insurance total cost for the root canal treatment and a crown to around $600-750, depending on your personal insurance plan. In the long run, crowns after root canals can help prevent future headaches, such as tooth extractions. A tooth extraction could cost anywhere between $800-4000, depending upon your unique situation because of the likelihood that you will want to replace the tooth that’s missing. Wouldn’t you rather spend $600-750 today than be caught off guard by an additional $800-4000 payment later? It’s better to secure your health now, than to allow things to continue to deteriorate. 

Prioritize Your Health

Of course, getting a dental crown is not a requirement. Nobody is forcing you to make this decision, but there are many benefits of adding a crown over your recently weakened tooth. You would be choosing to prioritize and protect the health of your teeth, to avoid the major implications that come with future infections or fractures. The choice is yours, but a root canal crown is your ticket to maintaining your oral hygiene and a happy, healthy smile, for many years to come. 

About the Author

Dr. Harris has been a practicing dentist since 2005. In 2012, he received his Master’s of Science in Dentistry and a certificate in Endodontics. He founded East Coast Endodontics shortly after receiving his master’s degree. He also currently holds a part-time position as a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Endodontics department at Virginia Commonwealth University. View his full bio.