Not Every Endodontically Treated Tooth Needs a Crown

August 22, 2022 Lee Ann Brady DMD

Not every tooth that has been endodontically treated requires a crown to insure it has great longevity and doesn’t crack or fracture.


Very clearly the literature supports that molar teeth in the posterior absolutely must have four cusp coverage—a four-cusp onlay or a full coverage crown. We are trying to use the phenomenon of containment with strong ceramic or metal material around the entire circumference of the tooth. We are holding the buccal and lingual together and replacing the top of the root chamber, so the tooth doesn’t fracture.


Bicuspids that have been endodontically treated do not need two-cusp coverage if there have been no previous restorations and the endo access is very conservative. In the case of a premolar that has never had an MO, a DO, or an MOD, and has a tiny access hole, you can do a composite buildup or chamber retaining composite restoration. If the patient has high functional risk, a reasonable decision would be to restore the tooth with an onlay or crown

Anterior Teeth

There is no scientific support for doing a crown on an anterior tooth just because it has had endodontic therapy. We do a crown on an anterior tooth that has had endo when it is already structurally compromised, for example with previous mesial lingual and distal lingual composite fillings, missing tooth structure, and significant structural compromise between the endo access and other restorations.

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About Author

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Lee Ann Brady DMD

Dr. Lee Ann Brady is passionate about dentistry, her family and making a difference. She is a general dentist and owns a practice in Glendale, AZ limited to restorative dentistry. Lee’s passion for dental education began as a CE junkie herself, pursuing lots of advanced continuing education focused on Restorative and Occlusion. In 2005, she became a full time resident faculty member for The Pankey Institute, and was promoted to Clinical Director in 2006. Lee joined Spear Education as Executive VP of Education in the fall of 2008 to teach and coordinate the educational curriculum. In June of 2011, she left Spear Education, founded and joined the dental practice she now owns as an associate. Today, she teaches at dental meetings and study clubs both nationally and internationally, continues to write for dental journals and her website, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, Inside Dentistry and DentalTown Magazines and is the Director of Education for The Pankey Institute.

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