Why does my Dentist want to put a crown (cap) on my tooth that had a root canal?

When the pulp, or nerve in a tooth dies and the nerve canal inside the root is disinfected and sealed up with an internal filling (root canal filling), the tooth no longer has a blood supply.  It’s a “dead” tooth.  If it happens to be a tooth which gets used for chewing like the back teeth do then it takes a  lot of biting force.  Usually a tooth that has a root canal- type of problem has already had it’s share of previous problems and dental work.  It may have had a large and/or deep filling done years ago.  This by itself will compromise the strength of a tooth.  The nerve/pulp inside may succumb to problems years later.  In any case a root canal filling doesn’t strengthen a tooth.  It only makes it’s innerds pain/problem free.  However, like a dead tree branch this tooth is more prone to bigger fracture problems than a live tooth.  Especially if its one of your heavy “chewers”.  Covering the tooth with a crown/cap or other type of “lid” will prevent you from chipping, breaking or splitting off more of the tooth.  If an internal crack develops before a crown can be placed,  it typically starts out small (like a crack in your windshield).  However given enough time and chewing the crack can extend and eventually a piece of tooth can break off simply because it was ready to go.  A crown /cap works like a helmet for the tooth preventing future fractures.  Front teeth are not as at risk of this as back teeth because we (normally) don’t chew with our front teeth.


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