Crowns / Root Canals
Saving your natural teeth through restorative procedures such as root canals and crowns is always the best oral health option. At Pristine Dental we use the latest technology to ensure the success of every root canal and we use the highest quality materials for our dental crowns to create the most aesthetically pleasing smiles.
Keeping your smile real!
When recommending a dental crown or root canal we are often asked by our patients “isn’t it better to pull the tooth rather than try to save it?”
The short answer is “No!” Whenever possible, it is always better to save your natural tooth than to pull or extract the tooth. Each tooth is part of a complex system of nerves and supporting tissue. Tooth roots provide essential nourishment and help maintain healthy bone mass in the jaw preventing detrimental bone loss and resulting loss of more teeth.
Natural teeth allow for proper chewing which means patients can enjoy a full, healthy diet and keeping your real smile aids in proper speech and optimal long-term oral health care.
What is a root canal?
There are several layers to a tooth. The two outer layers, enamel and dentin, serve to protect the soft tissue layer or the pulp of your tooth. The pulp fills the canal of the tooth root and is made up of tissue, blood vessels and nerves. The pulp is vital during developmental stages to help grow the root of the tooth.
Cracks in a tooth, deep cavities, injuries or fillings that are not sealed correctly can allow decay to pass through the two outer layers of a tooth. Harmful bacteria then invade the pulp and can cause infection. Left untreated the infection can spread through the root of the tooth causing an abscess; a pocket of infection at the base of or beside the tooth root.
During a root canal, or endodontic treatment, a dental professional removes the damaged or infected pulp and nerve. The pulp canal is filled with a composite material and sealed for protection.
How do I know if I need a root canal?
The first sign that a root canal may be necessary is sensitivity, mainly to hot and cold. The sensitivity is an indicator that the tooth nerve is irritated or inflamed. If you are experiencing sensitivity it is best to seek dental treatment immediately. If left unattended, symptoms can worsen causing:
- Persistent toothache
- Throbbing pain in the jaw, ear, and neck
- Increased sensitivity to extreme temperatures and/or biting pressure
- Tenderness in your neck and under the jaw (swollen lymph nodes)
If you are experiencing fever or swelling in the cheek, face or jaw seek care from a dental professional immediately or if unavailable, go to the emergency room. Fever and swelling are red flags that infection has spread into the jaw and surrounding tissue. Because there is blood supply to that tissue, the infection can spread through your body fairly quickly.
What happens after a root canal?
Although the nerve and pulp of the tooth are removed adult teeth can survive because the surrounding tissue provide the enough nourishment. However, because there is no internal blood supply to the inside of the tooth, it can become brittle and suffer further damage without the protection of a dental crown.
Some sensitivity after a root canal is normal particularly if the infection was severe. Lingering inflammation in the surrounding tissue can make the tooth tender for a few days afterwards. Discomfort can usually be controlled with over the counter pain relievers and the tenderness typically subsides in a few days.
Most patients return to their normal daily routine within a few hours or the next day.
Is it really as bad as they say?
Our poor friend root canal has a bad reputation. People dread them. We’ve all heard the saying “I’d rather have a root canal.”
Reality is that the symptoms and toothache pain caused by the infection or abscess are the worst part. If the infection is too severe and the procedure would be too uncomfortable, an antibiotic is often prescribed to reduce the swelling and pain. Once the symptoms have been alleviated, the root canal procedure is like having a filling placed.
With the technology available to us today root canal treatment has more than a 95% success rate and can last a lifetime.
Many people refer to a crown as a “cap” because it covers the top of a tooth much like a cap covers the top of your head.
When is a dental crown needed?
Dental crowns are used to protect your teeth after a root canal, removal of decay or to correct the shape of your teeth for a heathier bite; or to create a more aesthetically pleasing smile. The most common reasons for needed a crown are:
- To restore a tooth that has been cracked or worn down due to improper bite
- To protect a tooth following a root canal
- When too much of the tooth structure needs to be removed due to decay
- When due to disease or genetics a tooth is poorly shaped or discolored
- When veneers are not able to be used for cosmetic smile enhancements or to correct an unhealthy bite, typically on molar teeth
What are dental crowns made from?
Although crowns can be made from a variety of materials, at Pristine Dental we use only the highest quality cosmetic materials. We opt for ceramic and porcelain crowns to give you the most natural looking smile possible.
At Pristine Dental we have the latest equipment. Our Cerac™ CAD/CAM scanner sends 3D images of your teeth to a high-tech milling machine enabling us to make your crown in our office while you wait. This computer aided design technology is superior to the traditional dental impression technique because the level of cosmetic detail is greater, and we are able to complete your crown in one appointment.
Is a crown the same thing as a veneer?
No. Cosmetic veneers only adhere to the front surface of the tooth where a dental crown covers all sides of the tooth.
The preparation process for a dental crown differs from that of a veneer as well. With veneers, the surface of the tooth is made rough so the veneer will adhere properly.
But with a dental crown, the outer layer of the natural tooth is removed so the crown can fit securely over the tooth extending to the gum line.
How long does a dental crown last?
The average life-span of a dental crown about 10 to 15 years. Porcelain and ceramic crowns are extremely strong and durable, and with proper care can last up to 25 to 30 years.
The longevity of a dental crown can be affected by many things such as biting pressure, grinding or clenching the teeth at night, home oral health care and a patient’s lifestyle like regularly chewing of ice or hard candy.
Good hygiene habits and regular dental checkup help preserve the life of a dental crown. And refraining from biting fingernails, hard objects like ice or opening packages with your teeth will give your dental crown its longest life possible.