When a tooth has a deep cavity, a dentist may recommend a dental crown. However, they sometimes also recommend a "post and core" procedure. A post and core procedure is recommended when a tooth needs a dental crown, but the tooth doesn't have enough tooth structure to retain it.
A post and core procedure involves placing a post into the tooth. This stabilizes the tooth whose structure was lost either due to decay or fracture.
When your tooth doesn't have enough structure, the core buildup is an important step in preparing your mouth to receive a successful dental crown. Without a strong core, your mouth won't be able to sustain a permanent restoration, thus causing the restoration to fail. This can also cause decay or infection to attack the remaining root when the missing tooth is left unprotected.
A post and core are designed to restore your tooth's structure. The post is cemented in place, and the core is placed inside. The core is rebuilt with filling material. Once complete, the core is covered with a crown.
A post and core work may also be recommended after a root canal procedure if the tooth does not have enough structure above the gum line to place a crown, but the tooth roots and subgingival tooth structure are in good shape. In such situations, your dentist will perform a core buildup procedure by restoring the tooth strength and structure and thus preparing the tooth for the placement of a crown.
There are three types:
Many patients worry that getting posts and cores will hurt. But, it's generally a very quick and easy procedure. You may experience slight pain, but your dentist can apply a numbing gel to your mouth or administer a local anesthetic to your gums to prevent pain.
The treatment time can vary depending on whether you receive a regular or immediate post and core. Immediate post and cores require teeth to be restored the same day they are removed. Regular post and cores require a waiting period, usually around a week or two.