When too much of a tooth's structure has been lost for a filling to be successful, it's generally restored with a dental crown. When there's too much loss to support a crown, a tooth will often be extracted and replaced with a dental implant. But neither of these scenarios might accurately describe the issue with your particular tooth. There's a middle ground, and your dental clinic might suggest that your tooth be repaired using the post and core method. But what is this method, and how does it work?

In the Core

The post and core method can more accurately be described as a post in the core. The core in question is the pulp chamber in the centre of your tooth, which houses the tooth's nerve. This nerve will be removed (which involves a root canal). This is to prevent the nerve from becoming infected, which might already have happened if the deterioration of the tooth has breached the pulp chamber.

The Post

Ordinarily, after a root canal, the pulp chamber is packed with a filling material. But your damaged tooth is going to need more support than that. This is where the post comes into it, and your dentist will insert a tiny post into the empty pulp chamber, cementing it into place. Filling material (gutta-percha) will also be used. The post often features a ferrule, which is a tiny ring at either end, intended to offer extra strength and stability. While posts are typically metal, other materials can be used, such as ceramics, zirconia, or carbon fibre. Metal (titanium or stainless steel) is preferred due to the strength of the material. 

Adding the Crown

Now that the post has been cemented into place, your tooth can now be fitted with a dental crown. Beneath that crown, the remainder of your tooth's structure will be strengthened with the metal post. Your dentist has essentially created a foundation for the crown, returning your tooth to full functionality, ready to receive the bite pressure it will be subjected to on a daily basis. 

The main drawback to the post and core method is its permanence. Once finished, the tooth will be considerably stronger, however further repairs are difficult due to the fact that all the different components are so securely bonded together. If the tooth experiences trauma or further decay, then it will often need to be extracted and replaced. Visit a dental clinic for more information.