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Do You Have Alternatives to Crowns Following a Root Canal?

Posted on 4/17/2017 by Dr. Mark Waring
A diagram of how a dental filling works.
If you have an infection inside your tooth, you may have been told that you need a root canal. This procedure requires drilling into the tooth, cleaning the infection, removing the root and pulp of the tooth, disinfecting, filling the canals and finally capping the tooth with a crown.

Crowns are the most popular choice for finishing a root canal procedure, but are there other options available.

What is a Dental Crown?

A crown is a dental restoration that completely covers the entire visible portion of a tooth. Typically made out of ceramic (for its ability to blend seamlessly in with the rest of your teeth), it provides strength to the weakened tooth.

After your root canal is completed, your dentist will shave down your tooth, making room for the crown, and take impressions. The final crown is created in a lab, so you are provided with a temporary restoration until it is finished. Once done, you go back to your dentist to have it placed.

Alternative to Crowns

There is an alternative to crowns: fillings. Fillings require less time (they can be placed in one visit), and they preserve more of your natural tooth structure. Amalgam or composite resin material is packed into the tooth and hardened, sealing the tooth from the inside.

Which is Better?
Crowns are the popular choice, and with good reason. First of all, crowns provide strength, whereas a filling cannot. Fillings, especially large ones, can actually be detrimental to your tooth, causing a wedge effect that leads to splitting. Crowns also seal out bacteria. Fillings can sometimes shrink, allowing bacteria to sneak by and cause a new infection.

Despite these issues, fillings do have their place. A filling may be recommended if the access point was relatively small, and the tooth is otherwise in good condition. Fillings are also a good option for premolar teeth, where less pressure is applied. Ultimately, the best choice for your final restoration following a root canal is up to you and your dentist.

If you are in need of a root canal, be sure to discuss your final restoration options to learn which one is the best for your specific needs.

Please contact us if you have any questions about dental crowns.
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2080 E. Southern Avenue E-102
Tempe, AZ 85282

Phone: (480) 820-4342
Fax: 480-820-0754

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