Once a root canal has been completed, it is extremely important that the tooth be properly restored. If not, then there would be a good chance that the tooth could be lost permanently. The reason for this is the dental pulp which houses a collection of nerves and blood vessels in the center of the tooth will bathe the inner tooth layer (the dentin) with fluid, allowing the tooth to flex under load. Once the source of the moisture is gone, the tooth becomes very brittle. I always recommend that all chewing teeth have a crown placed soon after a root canal has been completed. I have even had the unfortunate experience of needing to extract a tooth only weeks after root canal treatment due to the tooth fracturing through to the root because it had not been properly restored yet. Some front teeth, if they have adequate remaining tooth structure, can be restored with just a filling.
To place a crown on a back tooth, usually a crown buildup needs to be done. A crown buildup is a core of filling material that is used to replace the tooth structure that was lost in the root canal process and due to decay. This core may need to be retained with pins or a large post that is placed in one of the canals. With a quality, well-timed final restoration covering and protecting a root canal tooth, that tooth should give decades of future service.