What is a root canal?

A root canal is a procedure intended to remove an infection from an existing tooth. This is caused by large cavities, excessive trauma or large fractures that extend into the nerve space of the tooth. It’s important to address this as soon as possible to prevent the infection from spreading to the surrounding gum tissue. After completion of a root canal, it is necessary to protect the tooth with a full coverage crown to prevent tooth fracture. In certain cases, such as treatment of anterior teeth, a crown may not be necessary.

A root canal will generally take between 1-2 hours. It can be done in either 1 to 2 visits, depending on the tooth in question. Patients are generally treated with local anesthetic, however Nitrous Oxide can be used as an adjunct to help relieve anxiety.

Do I need a crown after having a root canal completed?

In most cases, you will need a crown placed after the root canal is completed. The reason being is that a majority of cases that require root canals are due to extensive decay. After this decay is removed and the root canal is completed, the tooth is now compromised due to lack of remaining tooth structure. Restoring it with a standard filling leaves the tooth susceptible to fracture as the majority of the tooth is now comprised of filling material.