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Does a Crown Require a Root Canal?

June 24, 2024

When it comes to dental procedures, the terms "crown" and "root canal" often go hand in hand. But does a crown require a root canal? At Arlington Dental Excellence, we understand the importance of clear communication. Let's delve into the world of crowns and root canals and shed light on their independent and collaborative roles in maintaining a healthy smile.

What is a Dental Crown? 

A dental crown, also known as a cap, is a permanent restoration that covers a damaged or weakened tooth. It encases the entire visible portion of the tooth, restoring its strength, shape, size, and appearance. Crowns are typically made from porcelain, metal, or a combination of both and are custom-designed to blend seamlessly with your smile.

What is a Root Canal? 

A root canal is a procedure performed to address a diseased or infected tooth pulp. The pulp is the soft tissue center of the tooth, containing nerves and blood vessels. It becomes inflamed and infected when bacteria invade the pulp due to deep decay, cracks, or gum disease. This can cause significant pain, swelling, and sensitivity.

Difference Between a Root Canal and Dental Crown 


Root Canal

Dental Crown

Purpose Addresses infection and inflammation in the tooth's pulp Protects, strengthens, and restores a tooth
Procedure Focuses on Inner tooth (pulp) Visible portion (crown) of the tooth
Material N/A Porcelain, metal, or a combination
Anesthesia Usually local anesthesia Local anesthesia
Recovery Time Varies depending on the severity of infection Relatively short recovery

Does a Crown Require a Root Canal? 

No, a crown doesn't always necessitate a prior root canal. Here are some scenarios where a crown might be placed without a root canal:

  • Cosmetic reasons: If you're getting a dental crown for purely aesthetic reasons, like improving the appearance of a discolored or misshapen tooth, a root canal wouldn't be required as long as the tooth pulp remains healthy.
  • Minor fractures: Small cracks that haven't reached the pulp may not require a root canal before crown placement.
  • Large fillings: In some cases, if the remaining tooth structure is sufficient, a large filling might support the crown without needing a root canal beforehand.

When You May Need a Root Canal?

  • Significant Decay or Damage: If a tooth has extensive decay or damage that has reached the dental pulp, a root canal may be necessary before placing a crown. This ensures that the infection or inflammation is addressed before sealing the tooth with a crown.
  • Previous Root Canal Treatment: Teeth undergoing a root canal procedure are often weaker and more susceptible to fractures. In such cases, a crown is typically recommended to protect and strengthen the tooth. However, if the tooth shows signs of further decay or damage, a root canal retreatment may be needed before placing the crown.
  • Presence of Symptoms: If you are experiencing symptoms of a dental infection, such as persistent toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold, swelling, or tenderness in the gums, your dentist may recommend a root canal before proceeding with a crown.

When a Root Canal May Not Be Needed 

  • Healthy Dental Pulp: A root canal is unnecessary if the dental pulp is healthy and there are no signs of infection or inflammation. In such cases, a crown can be placed directly over the tooth without additional treatment.
  • Routine Crown Placement: For teeth with minor decay, fractures, or cosmetic imperfections that haven't affected the dental pulp, a crown can be placed without a root canal.

Consult with the Experts at Arlington Dental Excellence 

Ultimately, deciding whether a crown requires a root canal depends on the specific circumstances of your tooth. If you're unsure whether you need a root canal alongside your crown, it's essential to consult your dentist at Arlington Dental Excellence, In Arlington, VA. They will evaluate your dental health and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan.


In conclusion, while a crown and a root canal are often associated, not every crown requires a root canal. The necessity of a root canal depends on factors such as the condition of the dental pulp and the extent of decay or damage to the tooth. By working closely with your dentist, you can ensure that you receive the most suitable treatment to restore your dental health and preserve your natural teeth for years to come.


What costs more, a root canal or a crown?

A root canal usually costs $750 to $1600, crowns generally cost $1,500 to $2,500, and dental implants typically require a treatment period of three to fifteen months.

Can a tooth rot under a crown?

Despite being a durable cosmetic restoration designed to withstand daily wear and tear, a dental crown can still encounter issues if not properly maintained. Neglecting daily flossing and brushing can lead to plaque and bacteria buildup beneath the crown. This accumulation can cause tooth decay under the crown, potentially leading to its failure and other dental complications.

Why is my tooth black under the crown?

  • Poor Fit: When a dental crown doesn't fit snugly or leaves gaps between the crown and your tooth, it can trap food particles and bacteria, leading to black stains.
  • Decay or Infection: Any decay or infection under or around the crown can result in dark spots on the tooth.

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