Phoenix Patient Asks, “Is a Crown or Veneer the Best Protection for a Tooth After Root Canal?”

Root canal therapy may sound like a worrisome procedure, but this necessary treatment can save and repair a tooth. Inside the center of the tooth is a pulp chamber and canals that contain nerves. The root canal extends from the pulp chamber to the ends of the root. Once a tooth has fully grown, the nerves are not vital to the health of the tooth, serving primarily to provide the sensations of heat or cold.

Extensive decay, cracks, trauma, cavities, or numerous dental treatments can irritate a tooth. When a tooth becomes inflamed and infected, the pulp and nerves need to be removed. While symptoms that indicate the need for a root canal aren’t always noticeable, they may include:

  • A darkened appearance of the tooth
  • Sensitivity to temperatures that remains after the source of heat or cold has been removed
  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Pain when chewing or applying pressure
  • A pimple-like bump on the gums

X-rays are taken to diagnose and locate infection in the root canal. A local anesthetic is used to keep a patient comfortable during the procedure. A tiny hole is created to allow access to the pulp chamber and root canal. Bacteria, debris, nerve tissue, and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and sealed.

Crown or Veneer?

After a root canal treatment, the hollow tooth may be weaker and more brittle. Depending upon the size of the access hole and the amount of healthy tooth that remains, the tooth is often covered with a natural-looking porcelain dental crown.

A crown also called a cap, is custom-designed either in a dental laboratory or in our office, using our convenient CEREC technology. CEREC allows Dr. Frost to create 3-dimensional images of the tooth and the restoration, which are sent to the computer-aided design software. The porcelain crown is then precisely carved and created.

While crowns are the most common restoration used to protect a tooth after root canal therapy, a porcelain dental veneer is a possible option if the treatment has been done on a visible front tooth and the tooth has enough healthy structure. Dental veneers are thin layers of custom-matched porcelain that build up the remaining structure and they can be shaped to the desired proportions for a natural appearance.

For a comprehensive and complimentary consultation, contact us at Biltmore Dental Center in Phoenix at (602) 704-0659 today.