Why Root Canals fail:  The need for crowns

We previously wrote a little summary on what root canal treatments are and what the procedure entails.  Now we'll go over a small review of why teeth with root canal treatments usually need crowns. 


The concept that we have to try to remember is that teeth need root canal treatments for a reason.  Those reasons are usually carious decay or trauma that fractured a sizable portion of the tooth.  Hardly ever, although it happens, do teeth need root canal treatments that have all of their structure present.  Because of the carious decay or trauma that caused the nerve to be involved and compromised, teeth that need root canal treatments already have a considerable amount of compromised structure.  When you do the root canal treatment, which hollows out the middle of the tooth, the tooth will be compromised further.  This means that functionality of tooth, be it for esthetic and chewing purposes, will not be met.  Hence, crowning the tooth will bring back it's function. 

Furthermore, crowning the tooth will maintain the root canal treatment from failing.  The number one reason for root canal treatments to fail is because the tooth never got crowned.  The reason for this is that since the tooth got hollowed out, the possibility of it fracturing or for leaking goes up.  Crowning the tooth will generally prevent fractures.  When people mention that they've heard that root canal treatments "don't work", they usually refer to a tooth breaking afterward the treatment and it needing to get pulled.  This is generally because they never got crowned.  Teeth with both root canal treatment and a good crown have a great prognosis of success, which is well documented.

These topics get a little technical and complicated, so if any questions arise, feel free to ask!

Dr. Lopez and Dr. Gely