Most people treat their dental care on a need to know basis. Unless there's something wrong with their teeth, they don't care to know about possible treatment options. This is fine unless you end up at the dentist's office and they are trying to explain a procedure. Two of the most common procedures done at a dentist's office are crowns and root canals, but most people don't know the difference. Can you have one without the other? Do they do the same thing? Here is a break-down of each procedure so that when the dentist tells you that you need one of these you won't be sitting there with a thoughtless look on your face.
- A crown is used to protect the tooth if there is an extensive cavity that has not reached the root of the tooth. The bad part of the tooth is removed and a crown is placed over the remaining tooth to protect it from further damage.
- The dentist will start with a temporary crown from an impression made of the remaining tooth. Then a permanent one will be ordered. When it arrives, the temporary crown will be removed and the permanent crown will be attached to the tooth.
- A tooth with a crown does not always require a root canal. It depends on how much good tooth is left.
- Crowns can be made from stainless steel, plastic, porcelain or other metals.
- Most crowns last several years before needing to be replaced.
- Once a cavity has reached extensive enough levels that the root or pulp has been affected, it is time for a root canal. Another reason people get root canals is if they have experienced oral trauma.
- The dentist will remove the inside of the tooth as well as the affected nerves and pulp and fill the tooth to close the resulting hole. At this point, they will put a crown on the tooth to protect it because it will be quite brittle after being hollowed out.
- If you have an infected tooth/root and you don't get a root canal, the infection will spread. This is why they have to go in and actually remove parts of the tooth and pulp.
While crowns and root canals are sometimes done on the same tooth, they are far from being the same procedure or having the same effect. Now the next time you go to a dentist (such as one from http://www.nwidentist.com/) and they recommend a root canal or crown, you will know exactly what they are talking about and what it means for you and your mouth.