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How Do Crowns and Root Canals Work Together?

If you have ever had a cavity, you know how painful it can be. Although a root canal may sound scary, it is the only effective solution to restore healthy teeth and prevent future damage. At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, you can expect compassionate care as we work to repair your teeth with a root canal and crowning.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure that is often necessary if you have a decaying tooth. The inner tooth tissue (the pulp) can be infected by bacteria that enter the tooth from an untreated cavity or a crack caused by injury. During a root canal, the infected or dead pulp in the center of the tooth is removed with a special tool called a file. This is performed under local anesthesia so you will not feel any pain during the procedure.

How Root Canals Affect a Tooth

After a root canal, your tooth may be more brittle or weak. The inner pulp layer removed during a root canal contains much of the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. Therefore, the tooth’s blood supply is lost after a root canal. Additionally, the tooth is weakened because only the sides are left after a root canal. Hollowed teeth after a root canal are more at risk of cracking or breaking when you bite down on food or put pressure on the treated tooth.

How Crowns Protect the Teeth

A crown is a protective cap placed over decayed or broken teeth. Crowns are almost always placed after a root canal to restore the tooth’s strength and prevent future problems like tooth breakage. There are many types of crowns that can be made from porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or gold. Crowns are also custom fitted for every patient. The type of tooth and its location will often impact which material is chosen. For example, porcelain crowns are a great choice for the front teeth since they blend into your natural tooth color for a flawless smile.

How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?

Infection or tooth decay that is left untreated could lead to a more serious infection, bone loss, or loss of the entire tooth. If you have any of the following symptoms, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist right away:

  • Pain in the tooth or gums
  • Swelling
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods
  • Warm feeling in the gums
  • Tooth discoloration

Oral Health Care at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics

At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, we specialize in general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry as well as orthodontics. If you have an untreated cavity and are beginning to feel the effects of your damaged tooth, we encourage you to schedule an appointment today.

How Long Will My Dental Crown Last?

A crown is a cap made of very strong materials that’s placed over a defective tooth to preserve its function and avoid an extraction. Reasons to place a crown include:

  • A cracked or damaged tooth
  • A very deep cavity
  • As part of a root canal procedure
  • To anchor a dental bridge

Dental crowns are long-lasting solutions for these issues, but they are not permanent. To learn how long you can expect your dental crown to last, we need to know more about the specifics of how crowns work.

Crown Materials

Common materials used for crowns include porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, and gold. Gold used for crowns is mixed with other metals to make it stronger. This is because pure gold is too soft to use for dental crowns or jewelry.

Porcelain crowns give an excellent cosmetic result because the material closely matches the shade of the surrounding teeth. This is especially important if the affected tooth is easily visible. Gold is an excellent choice for back molar crowns, though. It’s a strong material that resists chipping and cracking and molds well to the contours of the tooth.

Preparing for a Crown

If one of our dentists determines you need a crown, the procedure is simple and painless. After numbing the area, the dentist will shape the affected tooth and prepare it for its crown. After that, a dental impression is taken. Next, the dentist will fashion a temporary crown for you to wear while you’re waiting for your permanent crown, which typically takes about two weeks. When your permanent crown is ready, your dentist will install it using very strong dental cement capable of holding the tooth firmly for many years.

If you’re receiving a dental bridge, your dentist will have to prepare the two teeth on either side of the gap in the mouth for a crown. These teeth will serve as anchors for the bridge itself that attaches to the anchor teeth.

How Long do Crowns Last?

Crowns can last for 5 to 15 years and even longer. The average time is about 10 years. You can care for your crown and increase its life by following some simple rules:

Reduce Refined Sugar and Soda Intake and Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

Porcelain and gold crowns cannot decay, of course, but the teeth surrounding them can. The integrity of your crown is determined partly by the presence of healthy abutting teeth. Teeth are like herd animals; they like to crowd together. By avoiding sugar and soda as much as possible, you increase your chances of keeping the teeth next to the crowned tooth healthy. Remember, a crown is always weaker than a natural tooth.

Use a Mouth Guard

If you grind your teeth at night, a condition called bruxism, you can cause uneven and excessive wear on your teeth and their enamel. This constant grinding can also damage your crown. If your dentist tells you to wear a mouth guard, always follow this advice.

Don’t Use Your Teeth as A Tool

Use the proper implements to open packages, not your teeth.

Don’t Bite Down on Hard Objects

Hard candy, certain nuts, ice, and caramel may cause damage to your crown and even natural teeth, too.

South Meadows Dental and Orthodontics

Only a dental professional can determine if you need a crown or not. Here at South Meadows Dental, we offer full service general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry all in one place. You may schedule an appointment by contacting us online or calling (775) 413-2976 to reach our Reno, Nevada office. We warmly welcome new patients and can’t wait to see you!