After a root canal is performed on a tooth, the tooth requires a dental post. Many patients confuse dental implants with dental posts but their functions are very different. Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth. Dental posts are small cylindrical devices that are used to reinforce teeth after root canal treatment. They are made of metal or composite materials and are placed into the existing natural tooth to provide extra support and help restore the tooth’s strength. Posts also serve as an anchor for permanent restorations which are used to restore the tooth’s appearance and function. Dental posts are crucial in maintaining the long-term health and stability of a tooth after root canal treatment.
When are Dental Posts Necessary?
Dental posts are necessary when a tooth has lost a significant amount of its structure, usually as a result of decay, trauma, or a large cavity. A root canal is usually performed to remove infected or damaged tissue from the inside of the tooth. Sometimes though, after the root canal, the remaining tooth structure may not be strong enough to support the final restoration on its own. In these situations, a dental post is placed inside the tooth to provide additional support and prevent the tooth from breaking. Dental posts can also be necessary when there is not enough healthy tooth structure left to hold a crown or bridge following root canal treatment.
Types of Dental Posts
There are different types of dental posts that can be used to maintain the tooth’s strength after a root treatment is performed. The most commonly used dental posts include:
- Cast Post and Core: Cast posts are made of metal alloys such as stainless steel or titanium, and are custom-made by a laboratory.
- Prefabricated Post and Core: Prefabricated posts are available in different sizes and shapes and are used when a standard-size post will fit into the root canal-treated tooth.
- Screw-Retained Posts: Screw-retained posts have a screw at the top that is used to secure the crown to the post, making it easy to remove and replace if needed.
- Custom Metal Cast Crown Post: Custom posts that are made from a mold of the tooth and are used when the root canal-treated tooth has lost too much structure. .
- Ceramic Cast Posts: Ceramic posts are custom-made out of ceramic or acrylic material. They are great for aesthetics because they are tooth-colored.
What Can Happen Without a Dental Post?
If a dental post is not placed after a root canal, the remaining tooth structure may not be strong enough and the tooth may fracture when biting or chewing. This can lead to pain, infection, and the need for further dental treatment, such as a re-treatment of the root canal or an extraction. In some cases, the tooth may also shift or drift out of its proper position, causing misalignment. Furthermore, the tooth may become more susceptible to decay, as the roots are exposed. Placing a dental post after a root canal treatment is crucial for preserving the health, function, and appearance of the tooth in the long term.
The Process of Getting a Dental Post
Before the dental post is placed, your dentist will numb the area around the tooth to minimize any discomfort. They will also clean the tooth and surrounding tissue to ensure that there is no bacteria present.
- Cleaning the canal: First, your dentist will treat the tooth with a root canal by cleaning out the canal and any tissue or decay.
- Post Placement: The dentist will then shape the root canal to accommodate the post and bond the post in place.
- Restoration: Your dentist will then take a mold of the tooth to be sent to the lab to create a final restoration if needed and place a temporary crown or bridge. The dentist may also decide that a filling is the best final restoration depending on the tooth and the remaining structure.
- Crown or Bridge Placement: The final step is to have the permanent crown or bridge cemented.
It’s important to go back to your dentist to have a final restoration placed if one is not placed at the root canal appointment in order to keep the tooth from breaking or getting hurt.
Schedule Your Next Appointment at Lakeview Dental Care
If you feel you may need a root canal, the dentists at Lakeview Dental Care can evaluate the tooth and create a treatment plan to get your dental health back on track. The dentists and staff at Lakeview Dental Care are committed to providing all of our patients with the highest-quality dental care. Make an appointment at one of our 6 convenient locations around New Jersey to learn more!