I wonder if my dentist’s business is in a slump, and he is looking for ways to generate income. I’ve had this dentist for four years. He did a root canal on my canine tooth three years ago, and now he says I should consider a crown to prevent the tooth from breaking. I have no symptoms in the tooth, and the x-rays show it is sound. Why would I get a crown? Thank you. Wei from MA
Thank you for your question.
Does a Front Root Canal Tooth Need a Crown?
A front tooth with a root canal does not need a crown unless it is weak or is already missing most of its structure. Sometimes, a dentist will place a crown for aesthetic reasons, but an advanced cosmetic dentist might use another option to improve the tooth’s appearance.
How Does Root Canal Affect a Front Tooth?
Root canal treatment removes tooth infection, but it also makes any tooth more brittle. Although it is easy to crown the tooth, more care is needed with a front tooth.
Canine Teeth and Root Canal Treatment
Preparing a canine tooth for a crown requires a dentist to remove about one millimeter of structure all around the tooth. About 50% of the tooth’s fracture resistance will be left. If the tooth weakens over time, it can break and create the need for a dental implant.
Canine teeth have long roots to absorb intense horizontal stress to protect back teeth. So, grinding down a canine tooth for a crown is not advisable when the tooth is in reasonably good condition.
Your dentist’s exam and x-rays show that your canine tooth is sound. So, we recommend not accepting a dental crown. You can ask your dentist for more information on why he recommends a crown if the tooth is in good condition. But based on the information you provided, we would not disturb the tooth and weaken it without good reason.
You may choose to get a second opinion from a nearby accredited cosmetic dentist.
Michael Szarek, DMD, an accredited cosmetic dentist in Lowell, MA, sponsors this post.