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  • Dr. Barry Yu

WHEN IS CROWN OR CUSPAL COVERAGE NECESSARY AFTER ROOT CANAL TREATMENT? UNDERSTANDING POST-RCT CARE




Crown on tooth, discussing the necessity of crown after root canal treatment.

Root canal treatment (RCT) is a vital procedure aimed at salvaging teeth compromised by infection or severe decay. One common question that arises after RCT is whether crown or cuspal coverage is necessary to ensure the tooth's long-term health and stability. In this article, we'll explore the role of crown placement after RCT and provide insights into when it may be recommended.


Understanding Root Canal Treatment


Root canal treatment, commonly abbreviated as RCT, is a procedure designed to remove infected or inflamed pulp tissue from within the tooth, disinfect the root canals, and seal them to prevent reinfection. This process not only relieves pain but also preserves the tooth's structure and function.




Shade matching for crowns after root canal treatment

The Importance of Post-RCT Care


After undergoing RCT, the treated tooth may become more susceptible to fracture or damage due to the removal of the pulp and hollowing out of the root canals. In some cases, the tooth may already be weakened by extensive decay or trauma prior to the procedure. As such, additional support and protection may be necessary to ensure the tooth's longevity.


When is Crown or Cuspal Coverage Necessary?


While crown or cuspal coverage is not required for every tooth that undergoes RCT, there are certain situations where it may be recommended:




Tooth decay, indicating extent of damage and whether crown is needed after root canal treatment

Extent of Tooth Damage: 


Teeth that have experienced significant structural damage or are at risk of fracture may benefit from crown placement to provide reinforcement and support. This is particularly true for teeth with large restorations or those that have undergone multiple procedures.




Crown on tooth, discussing the necessity of crown after root canal treatment.

Location in the Mouth: 


Teeth located towards the back of the mouth, particularly molars and premolars, endure greater chewing forces and may require added protection with a crown. This is because they bear the brunt of chewing and are more prone to fractures.




Woman eating salad, discussing eating habits and crown necessity post-root canal treatment

Patient's Bite and Habits: 


Patients who grind or clench their teeth (bruxism) are at a higher risk of tooth fracture and may benefit from the additional strength provided by a crown. Bruxism puts excessive pressure on the teeth, which can lead to wear, cracks, and fractures over time.



Cosmetic Considerations: 


In cases where the treated tooth is visible when smiling, a crown may be recommended for aesthetic purposes to restore the tooth's appearance. Crowns can be customized to match the color, shape, and size of the surrounding teeth, providing a seamless and natural-looking restoration.





Woman eating sandwich, discussing eating habits and crown necessity post-root canal treatment

In conclusion, crown or cuspal coverage plays a crucial role in preserving the structural integrity and function of compromised teeth following root canal treatment. Factors such as the extent of tooth damage, its location in the mouth, the patient's bite and habits, and cosmetic considerations are all taken into account when determining the necessity of crown placement.


If you have any questions or concerns about post-RCT care and whether crown placement is right for you, don't hesitate to discuss them with your dentist. Together, you can work towards maintaining optimal oral health and preserving your smile for years to come.



To understand more about root canal treatment, CLICK HERE.


To understand more about dental crowns, CLICK HERE.

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About Authors

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Graduated with honors from the University of California, Davis (U.S.A.), major in biochemistry and molecular biology, Dr. Yu has further obtained his dental degree (Doctor of Dental Medicine) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine (U.S.A.).  Dr. Yu is qualified to practice in the US, Singapore and Hong Kong, and has over 10 years of practicing experience in the US before starting both practices in Hong Kong and Singapore.

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Dr. Chrissie Lam graduated from University of California, Berkeley (U.S.A.) with a bachelor degree in Nutritional Science before earning her doctorate degree in dentistry from University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry (U.S.A.). In her 10 years of practice she took care of her patients, both in U.S.A. and Singapore with her warm demeanor and excellent clinical skills. 

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