Post and core is a dental restoration treatment that’s sometimes performed after a root canal.
When a significant portion of a tooth’s structure is removed, a post and core can help keep a dental crown in place. Dental crowns are put on top of teeth, to protect them from further damage or infection.
In this article we’ll go over the post and core procedure from start to finish, as well as discuss what recovery looks like.
During a root canal procedure, a portion of your tooth and your pulp-filled cavity in the root of your tooth is removed. The pulp contains:
- blood vessels
- connective tissue
In some instances, there may not be enough tooth left intact to return it to typical function.
When this occurs, a post and core can be performed to keep a dental crown in place, and to reconstruct, or build the missing portions of your tooth.
“In laymen’s terms, you cannot build a new house on a missing foundation,” says Dr. Cindy Roark, DMD MS, of Sage Dental. “A post in dentistry is used much like a post in a fence.”
Roark explains that posts are placed into the canal where the root of your tooth used to be. This helps retain your tooth’s core.
“The root canal houses the post, and the post retains the core buildup,” Roark says. The core replaces the missing tooth structure and foundation and supports the crown.
During a post and core procedure, the root canal must be devoid of its original pulp-filled cavity or chamber (the root is still present).
The post goes inside the canal, which is sealed during the root canal procedure. For that reason, this post and core is performed after a root canal.
Roark only recommends a post and core procedure when more than 50 percent of your tooth’s original structure is removed. In these instances, the post helps mechanically retain the dental crown and core.
The post and core procedure should not be performed if there is enough remaining tooth structure available to hold a crown in place.
According to Patrick Campbell, DDS, LT, DC, USN, of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, there are two types of post and core procedures:
- Prefabricated post and core. This is a pre-made unit.
- Cast post and core. This is a one-piece unit that is custom-made at a dental laboratory. It may be constructed with multiple posts.
Your dentist will decide which type is best for you, based upon the extent of your tooth’s damage or decay.
“The important takeaway for patients is that prefabricated post and cores usually take one appointment, while cast post and cores usually take two,” says Campbell.
Here are pros and cons of a post and core procedure.
- A post and core procedure allows you to retain your tooth, eliminating the need for an extraction and dental replacement, which may be costly.
- Post and core procedures don’t reinforce or strengthen teeth.
- In some instances, a post may stress or weaken your teeth over time.
Post and core is a dental restoration procedure which is sometimes performed after a root canal. The purpose of a post and core is to salvage an existing tooth that has lost a significant amount of its internal structure.
A post and core helps anchor a dental crown on top of a tooth to shield it from infection and further damage.