Can You Get A Root Canal On A Crowned Tooth?

pointing to dental xray

Why do I need a root canal on a crowned tooth?

Did you receive a crown on one of your teeth, and now someone told you that you need a root canal on that same tooth? But wait, you say, I thought the crown was supposed to fix my problems? It is true that in some situations it is necessary to get a root canal through a crowned tooth. We’re going to discuss the causes of that here, but if you have more questions or want to talk to a specialist, we can help. Call our Lane and Associates Family Dentistry team at 1-877-LANE-DDS and speak to one of our team members for information and guidance, or to set an appointment to see one of our dentists.

How Long Does a Root Canal Take on a Tooth with a Crown?

A root canal on a tooth with a crown generally takes about 1 to 1.5 hours per appointment. Sometimes, more complex cases might require additional time or multiple visits. The procedure involves removing the infected pulp from inside the tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the canals, and then filling them with a material called gutta-percha. If the crown is in good condition, your dentist might place it back on after the root canal. Otherwise, a new crown may be needed.

What Is the Success Rate of a Root Canal Through a Crown?

The success rate of a root canal on a crowned tooth is very high, often over 90%. This is because crowns protect and seal the tooth, reducing the risk of further decay or infection. However, the success rate can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the condition of the tooth and crown. Regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene can help maintain the health of your treated tooth.

Can a Root Canal with a Crown Get Infected?

Yes, a root canal with a crown can still get infected, although it is rare. This can happen if there is a crack in the crown or if the seal around the crown becomes compromised, allowing bacteria to enter the tooth. Signs of infection include pain, swelling, and sensitivity to hot or cold. If you experience these symptoms, it is important to contact your dentist as soon as possible.

What Happens If You Need a Root Canal on a Tooth That Has a Crown?

If you need a root canal on a tooth that already has a crown, your dentist will remove the crown to access the inner part of the tooth. After completing the root canal procedure, the dentist will clean and disinfect the tooth. Depending on the condition of the existing crown, it may be re-cemented, or a new crown may be made to restore the tooth’s function and appearance.

What Is the Hardest Tooth to Get a Root Canal On?

The hardest teeth to perform a root canal on are usually the molars, particularly the back molars (second and third molars). These teeth have multiple roots and intricate canal systems, making the procedure more complex and time-consuming. However, experienced dentists and endodontists have the skills and tools needed to perform successful root canals on these challenging teeth.

How Do You Tell If You Need a Root Canal on a Crowned Tooth?

Dentist cleaning teeth

There are several signs that you might need a root canal on a crowned tooth:

  • Persistent pain: Ongoing toothache that doesn’t go away.
  • Sensitivity: Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.
  • Swelling: Swelling in the gums around the crowned tooth.
  • Discoloration: Darkening of the tooth or gums.
  • Pimple on the gums: A small bump on the gums near the tooth, which may indicate an abscess.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your dentist for an evaluation.

Why Do I Need a Root Canal on a Crowned Tooth?

The problem with teeth is that they were not designed to deal with a lot of the stress we put on them or the things we ask them to chew on. Root canals are necessary when the pulp inside your tooth becomes infected. This can be caused by decay, a chip or crack in the tooth, or an old or poorly placed crown. If infection of the pulp is left untreated it can cause inflammation and serious pain. During a root canal, the infected pulp is removed from the tooth and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected. It is then filled and sealed with a material called gutta-percha. After the procedure, the top of the tooth is restored either with a new crown or filling, or by repairing your existing one.


Sometimes, it can become necessary to perform a root canal on a tooth that already had a crown put in. Crowns are typically installed to repair teeth that are cracked or damaged and in need of repair. They are different from fillings, because fillings are usually used to repair very small areas of damage. Crowns are used if the damaged area is larger and needs a different solution. Sometimes the pulp inside a tooth that had a crown installed will eventually become infected and a root canal will become necessary. This could be any length of time after the crown is installed, 5, 10, 20 years later. When initially examining the tooth before installing a crown, your dentist should check to see if the problem would be better addressed by a root canal. If you need a root canal immediately after you receive a crown, it could be simply that not all teeth are created equally, and unfortunately your tooth became infected after receiving a crown.


Have questions? Come see one of our Lane and Associates dentists!

If you have tooth pain and think you may be in need of a root canal or crown, come see one of our Durham dentists or dental teams in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, or around the Triangle and Piedmont of North Carolina. In addition, if you think you may need a root canal on a crowned tooth, come see our dental team and get our expert opinion on your best options. We are here to help, and love to make you smile! Call our team at 1-877-LANE-DDS or request an appointment online and let us make you smile today!