Fixing a cracked tooth can be like figuring out the damage after a car accident. If you don’t have a professional check things out, what looks like a surface dent can actually turn out to be really serious. Since dental bone does not behave like other types of bone and cannot knit itself back together, a chip or a crack to the tooth is likely to get worse over time.
In the case of a cracked tooth, your repair expert is an endodontist. Endodontists are experts in saving natural teeth. They frequently see clients with a cracked tooth, and can use their dental specialty training to determine if additional intervention such as a root canal is needed before placing a crown on the tooth.
When Does A Cracked Tooth Need A Root Canal Before A Crown?
The main job of a dental crown is to provide structural support by acting as the new outer surface of a tooth. Before a crown is cemented into place, your endodontist will want to make sure the natural tooth underneath the crown is as healthy as possible. If there is any injury or infection in a tooth’s nerve pulp, a root canal can provide a healthy tooth underneath.
With a crack deep enough to damage the root pulp, a root canal will be needed to prevent further difficulty, possibly extraction. It can be difficult to tell from symptoms alone if you need a root canal before you get a crown placed on your cracked tooth. Some cracked teeth that need a root canal before the crown hurt a lot; some do not. Some teeth with large cracks do not have root/nerve damage, but some teeth with much smaller cracks may have infected nerve pulp that must be removed via a root canal.
It’s important to see your endodontist right away because there are some types of cracked tooth injuries that cannot be remedied with a root canal and a crown. If the crack in the tooth extends below the gum line, it’s highly likely that the tooth will need to be extracted.
“It’s vital to have an endodontist perform a careful evaluation of a cracked tooth – what you can see on the surface may not be an accurate picture of the entire situation,” says Dr. Susan L. Wood, who practices with the Phoenix Endodontic Group. “Our office can perform the diagnostic procedures needed to determine if a root canal is called for before a crown is placed on the tooth.”