Can A Root Canal Be Done Through A Dental Crown?

A root canal is a common procedure used to treat an infected tooth. Though many patients are weary of it, you should know that most times it’s quite a simple treatment.

But what if the infected tooth is currently protected by a dental crown? How will the root canal be done then? 

Well, the short answer is that it depends. A dentist may have multiple options for performing a root canal when a tooth has a crown on top. Find out about these options below:

Shouldn’t a Dental Crown Prevent a Tooth Infection? 

Yes, technically, a dental crown is cemented on top of a natural tooth both to restore it and protect it from dental damage like infections. 

However, these situations aren’t unheard of. You can develop an infection if plaque and tartar build up around the crown, eventually allowing bacteria to get underneath and attack the tooth. This happens due to poor oral hygiene habits.

Other explanations can include:

  • The crown is cracking or chipping.
  • Poor crown placement or size
  • Improperly treating an old tooth infection, etc.

How Does a Root Canal Work?

Root canals are usually done in these steps:

  • Inspection: A dentist looks at the tooth and takes an X-ray to see the size of the infection;
  • Cleaning: The dentist drills the tooth and starts removing all the infected tissue from inside, including what’s down the narrow chambers of the root;
  • Disinfection: The tooth is cleaned with a disinfecting solution to ensure all bacteria are killed off.
  • Sealing and reconstruction: The tooth chambers are sealed, and the dentist begins to restore the tooth, either with a filling or dental crown.

How Are Root Canals Done Through a Dental Crown?

The procedure is virtually the same, even if your tooth has a dental crown.

The difference lies in the cleaning process and how the dentist can reveal the infected tissue underneath. They may have these options:

  • Drilling through the crown: You can drill through a dental crown to perform a root canal, but there are limits. If the crown chips during the process or the infection is severe, the dentist may need to change course.
  • Removing and re-cementing the crown: Sometimes crowns can be removed without damaging them. The dentist will clean the remaining cement from the inside and add the crown back once the root canal is done. But this process may also damage the crown in some cases.
  • Changing the crown entirely: If the crown is too damaged or the infection too big, your dentist will likely recommend getting a new one after your root canal.

If you’re wondering which scenario applies to you, come see Dr. Joel Darrah for a consultation to find out.

Request a visit to Buckwalter Dental Care online and stop by our practice to get your oral health restored.

For more information, call us at (843) 815-3232.

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