What is a Root Canal and Crown Procedure

What is a Root Canal and Crown Procedure?

When a tooth has decay that has reached the pulp chamber the tooth can no longer be restored with a simple filling. Decay is a progressive bacterial infection that is not self-correcting.  The only way to stop decay is to remove the infected part of the tooth.

If the decay has only invaded the enamel (the first layer of tooth structure) it can usually be repaired with a regular filling.  Even if the decay has passed through to the dentin (the second layer of tooth structure) it can often be corrected with a filling.

Once the pulp chamber, the most vulnerable part of a tooth, is permeated there are only two options. One option is to remove the entire tooth.  The other option is to remove the infected nerve from the tooth and sterilize the canal of any residual bacteria.  This is called a Root Canal.

How is a Root Canal Done? 

Once the infected nerve is removed, the canal is sterilized and gutta percha (a sterile, medicated filler) is placed in the canal.  After the canal is sealed, Doctor will use dental resin to build up the integrity of the tooth in preparation for the final restoration.

What is a Dental Crown and Why Do I Need It?

When the nerve is removed the tooth is no longer vital.  There is no more blood flow to the tooth, and it becomes brittle.  To protect the tooth, a full coverage restoration called a crown is necessary.

The tooth is polished and shaped to a core that will hold the crown. An impression of the core is taken either with impression trays or with a virtual impression scanner.  The impression is then sent to a dental lab to create a crown custom fitting the core and your bite.

In the meantime, a temporary crown is placed over the core to prevent breakage that could change the shape of the core consequently affecting the fit of your permanent crown.

There are various materials used to make a dental crown depending on the location of the tooth and your bite force.  Materials such as gold alloy or semi-precious metal fused to porcelain are commonly used.  Newer materials porcelain fused to Zirconia or full Zirconia are becoming more popular because of the matched strength of metal and the more pleasant esthetics.

The entire Root Canal and Crown procedure can be completed comfortably in two to three appointments.  If a Root Canal and Crown has been diagnosed for one or more of your teeth, Dr. Schmelter can answer any questions you have.