Post and Core
Post & Core: Giving Broken Teeth a Second Chance
A post and core rebuilds the missing tooth structure with a sturdy composite base, giving the crown a strong new foundation. The post, sometimes called a pin, is like dental rebar that reinforces the base and anchors it to the tooth root.
When teeth break, they often leave behind a sturdy root but very little tooth structure. Putting a crown on the tooth would make it functional again, but what is the crown supposed to be anchored to…?
Saving Root Canal Teeth
Teeth that have had root canals are particularly vulnerable if they break because of their hollow roots. A post and core anchors into these roots, molds to the shell of the tooth and reinforces what is left of the natural tooth.
Does EVERY Crown Need it?
No, not every crown or bridge needs a post and core because not every crown is rebuilding a broken tooth. Crowns that are repairing cracked teeth, large cavities or replacing overly large fillings do not typically need a post and core. Broken teeth, particularly broken root canal teeth, usually do need a post and core in order to rebuild missing tooth structure and anchor a crown.
Build-ups: When A Post is Too Much But the Tooth Core is Damaged
Sometimes a tooth loses a lot of tooth structure to a big cavity, but still doesn’t need a post. What then? If there isn’t enough tooth structure left to support a crown and the tooth clearly doesn’t need a post, then a build-up will do the trick. Building up the tooth with composite fills in what is needed to give a strong base for the crown.
What If A Tooth Needs A Post & Core But Doesn’t Get One?
Sometimes people don’t want a post and core because it adds to the cost of the crown and seems like another add-onservice. However, if a tooth needs a post and core and doesn’t get one, that beautiful new crown isn’t going to last very long and neither will the tooth anchoring it. It would be like building a house without a foundation.
If a crown doesn’t have proper support and anchoring, the forces of chewing will weaken its grip on the tooth opening access for bacteria to creep inside. Before long, the tooth is either going to be a hot mess of decay under the crown or it is going to break again deep inside. Either way, the decayed tooth stub is rarely repairable at that point and has to be pulled.
Let’s Get to the Core of Things!
When a dentist considers repairing a broken down tooth, the following things have to be looked at:
- Is the tooth mobile? If a tooth is loose, that means that periodontal disease has destroyed the bone around the root. Adding a Post & Core with a crown to a mobile tooth simply means that the crown, post and core will all come out in one piece when the tooth falls out in the near future.
- Does the tooth hurt? If the tooth is hurting or hurts to touch, it’s a sign that there are other issues that need to be resolved before investing money in restoring it.
- Is the tooth broken off below the gumline? Restoring a tooth with only a tiny portion of root left is not going to succeed and is a waste of money. For a tooth broken below the gumline, a bridge, a partial or an implant is going to be the way to go.
- Does the tooth have active gum disease or abscesses? Gum disease and abscesses kill the bone around the tooth, cause mobility and will ultimately cause the failure of the post & core and crown. Deal with the infection first and then restore the tooth.
- Has the tooth had endodontic treatment? For a full post and core that extends into the tooth root, the tooth must have had successful endodontic treatment. This isn’t necessary for build-ups, but is a must for a successful post and core. ?