Placing a Post in a Root Canal Treated Tooth: How to Decide

How to Decide?

Answer the following questions:

  1. Is your tooth still savable?
  2. Has the root canal destroyed a substantial amount of tooth structure?

If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions then you probably need a post to bring your tooth to its original state.

If you  answered “no” to most of the above questions then you may not require a post. IF your dentist or endodontist create only a small opening access to perform the root canal treatment and preserves the majority of your original tooth structure then you will not require a post.

  • This usually applies only to the front teeth which have only one nerve and are thus easier to access the tooth nerve without having to remove a whole bunch of tooth structure. And it only applies in cases where there is not a lot of decay and cavity in the tooth.

Unfortunately this is not something that you have any control over and is at the sole discretion of your dentist. If your dentist goes into the tooth and can’t find the canal and is forced to increase the size of the access hole then you will automatically require a post.

Final Thought

If your dentist or endodontist removes a substantial amount of your tooth structure then a post can help to better restore your tooth to its original state. It basically improves your odds of not having to redo the treatment in the future. Without the placement of a post the chances of the crown breaking off or falling out increases greatly. Should this happen you will probably either have to redo the entire post and crown procedure over or even risk losing the tooth. Keep in mind that the post placement must be performed between the root canal treatment and the crown preparation appointment, you can’t go back and place the post once the crown has been fabricated.

If you are down to less than 20% of your natural tooth structure above the gumline things are not looking good for that tooth. A post may help a little but you are still likely to lose the tooth sooner than later. Before invention of dental implants it made sense to attempt to place a large post and perform additional treatments and surgeries in attempts to salvage the tooth at all costs. But these treatments add up to as much as a dental implant would cost only with much lower success rates. So you are almost always better off receiving the dental implant instead of trying to save these very badly broken teeth.

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