Can a Zirconia Crown with a Live Tooth Have a Root Canal Without Needing to Replace the Crown?

I have recently gotten 3 zirconia crowns and have a feeling that I am going to need a root canal in one of the teeth. Is it possible to get a root canal on a tooth with a zirconia crown with out having to replace the crown and if so does this compromise the structure of the crown. Also if the crown needs to be removed is it easy to remove a zirconia crown? Thank You!

Doctor Answers 5

Yes. A root canal can be done through a zirconia crown.

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Root canal procedures are done through a zirconia crown usually without any complications. 


Sometimes the crown might de-bond or fracture, but it doesn't happen often, and if it does you will need a new crown.


After the root canal is completed, make sure it is sealed up properly.

New York Dentist

Can a Zirconia crown be drilled through

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It is definitely possible to drill through a Zirconia Crown in order to accomplish a root canal treatment.  If done correctly, you would not need to replace the crown.  However, after drilling through a Zirconia crown, it is difficult to make the crown look as it did before making a hole in it.  Some patients opt for having a new crown placed because they don't like the appearance afterwards.  If the crown fractures while drilling through it, it will become compromised and will need to be replaced.

Don W. Ririe, DDS
Portland Dentist


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Yes. A root canal can be done under a Zirconium crown. You have to drill a small whole (called access opening) thru the chewing surface of the crown. Very difficult to drill thru zirconia. There are some some special drill bits on the market just for zirconia. If you use a lot of water in the process, the integrity of the crown is not markedly compromised and you can put a filling to cover the hole without having to redo the crown.

But if for any reasons in the process of doing the root canal you need a large access opening, then I would recommend having thd crown redone.

Jean D. Morency, DMD
Houston Dentist

Root canal under a zirconia crown

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Zirconia is one of the hardest materials and certainly the hardest/strongest ceramics utilized intraorally. In order to have the root canal accomplished, a small opening will have to be accessed on the chewing surface of the crown. The Dr will most likely use 2-3 new diamond drill bits with a heavy flow of water to cool and keep the ceramic from cracking. Once the access is open the root canal treatment can progress, followed by a tooth colored filling to seal and restore the opening that was created.

Removing an existing zirconia crown will require the same care and patience as drilling through it. Once a "slit" is created along the side of the crown a special instrument can separate the pieces. Unfortunately the crown is no longer usefull. Occasionally a "gummy" substance is placed on the crown, the patient bites into it, and opens rapidly. Sometimes the crown will pop of and is reusable.

Root canal treatment through zirkonia crowns

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When the patient starts getting symptoms under zirkonia crown, it complicates the situation because the dentist will need to drill carefully through the crown. In the situation when the crown fractures/breaks it should be completely redone.

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.