An unfortunate tooth ended up with a root canal. Once you received the root canal you went in to receive the crown. The dentist explained that your tooth will also require a post to help buildup and strengthen it. As if the root canal and crown wasn’t costing you enough now you have to pay for whatever this post is supposed to be! You try to convince your dentist to proceed without a post to cut costs but since you’re not even sure what this post is you have no leg to stand on and lose the argument! So what is this dental post and when is it really necessary? Or could you ever actually fix a root canal treated tooth without using this post?
Pros of Placing a Dental Post
1. The post fills the void created by the root canal treatment. To perform a root canal your dentist or endodontist must shave off enough tooth structure to gain access to the roots and nerves. Subsequently a substantial amount of tooth is removed which needs to be replaced prior to the placement of the crown. You can’t just leave this void empty or your tooth will crack under bite pressure. There are two methods to fill this void either a core buildup or a post.
- A core buildup is a type of filling material similar to filling that fills the void. The core buildup works well when there hasn’t been a lot of tooth structure removed.
- A dental post is a sturdy screw-like restoration which is inserted into one of the tooth canals after a root canal.
A post is usually necessary when more tooth structure has been removed. The more tooth structure is removed during the root canal treatment, the more crucial the placement of a post becomes. A core buildup alone can not hold up over time and may fall out or become loose.
2. The post retains holds everything together. The major role of a dental post is to hold in place the filling material which seals the void created after a root canal treatment. Without a post in place the buildup material could get loose and fall off along with the crown. If this happens you must redo the entire crown process or even risk losing the tooth altogether! The post plays a crucial role in ensuring that the buildup material is held securely in place. It essentially brings everything together.
- We even run into cases where once the patient presents to pick up their permanent crown the entire core buildup is dislodged upon removing the temporary. This only happens because the dentist neglected to place a post in place and instead went with the core buildup alone. Now you are stuck redoing the entire procedure but with a post in place this time around!
3. The post provides a better foundation. You can’t build a sturdy house without laying a solid foundation first. Similarly, to place a crown on a root canal treated tooth you require a solid foundation for long-term success. The post helps improve the overall retention and durability of the tooth. Root canal treated teeth are more likely to fail over the years than your other teeth and it is not uncommon to have either the crown fall off or even worse the entire crown portion fracture off the tooth. Often times once this occurs you end up losing the tooth and will require a dental implant. A post can help in preventing these scenarios and may substantially extend the longevity of the root canal treated tooth.