Dental crown before or after root canal on front teeth?

dear doctors, when I was 10 years old, I got cavities between my front 2 teeth, one of which i remember my dentist telling my parents that it was so close to the tooth pulp. Now I'm 21 and have read that white fillings will eventually get reccurent decay so will my tooth definitely need a root canal? And should i get my teeth crowned now or wait till after the root canal? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 2

Proper diagnosis

Dear kteercute:
The problem is not the white filling, but the judgement and skill used in fabricating it.  Placing a very large filling very close to the pulp (nerve) will result in problems down the road, regardless the type of restoration used.  White, composite fillings should be placed in smaller cavity preparations, leaving most of the tooth intact.  If most of the tooth is destroyed, one should consider a more appropriate restoration, such as a crown.  A root canal treatment should be performed ONLY if the tooth requires it.  And a post should be placed ONLY to retain a core build up, if there is not enough tooth structure to support a crown.
The best advise I can give you is to find a high quality dentist, or better yet,a prosthodontist, who is the specialist in this area, and have a proper diagnosis of your situation.Best of luck,
Dr. Zev Kaufman

New York Prosthodontist

Dental crown before or after root canal on front teeth?

If there is a high probability for needing a root canal soon or in the future, or also a definite need for doing a root canal it is best to do the root canal first before getting your new crown.


First, if you have the crown and then have the root canal, your dentist will either have to drill through the back side of the front crown in order to do the root canal.  Thus, the new crown will be weaker.

Second, the dentist can usually do a BETTER job of doing the root canal if done before the crown, as he will have better access and also have to drill less of the tooth in order to complete the procedure, and drilling less always means that the underlying tooth will be stronger.

Third, if you need to have a post after the root canal has been placed, the dentist will be able to do a better job than doing it through the crown.

Thus, it is very clear that the results will be best for you if you have the root canal done before doing the new crown.

Norman Huefner, DDS
Laguna Niguel Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.