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Dentistry/post& core vs just a crown for root canal


QUESTION: When my son was 14 and 17 yrs he had a root canal (ie 2 altogether) and at that time the dentist explained that at around 18yrs he would need a proper crown for those teeth. He had no complications. He is now 21 and I have saved for his further dental work. The dentist ( a new one) has explained that there is another option called post and core with a crown on top. However I am wondering whether it would be better to just have a crown on the root canaled teeth (steel with porcelain)without the post & core. What do you think.  Thanks so much. Polly

ANSWER: Hello Polly,

I am happy to respond to you and I apologize for my tardy reply.  It is really difficult for me to totally answer your question but I'll do my best.  It depends on how badly broken the tooth was and how much actual tooth surface is left and also which tooth is involved. If it's a front too the then often a post is a good idea if there is little tooth surface left. Also on a lateral incisor ( the one beside the front tooth ) since that tooth is very small anyway it's not a bad idea if the tooth has had a root canal done.  Usually on a posterior tooth        I do not place a post except in extreme circumstances as there often is a fair amount of natural tooth surface left.  So to summarize my response, on a front small tooth, that has had a previous root canal, it might be a good idea but not totally necessary unless there is very little tooth surface left.  On a posterior tooth I rarely place a post so usually a crown is all that is needed.  Bear in mind I have not seen the tooth nor an x-ray  so this is an opinion only and not a diagnosis, if you'd like to provide some of that information or a photo I might be able to be of more help.  IF you have more questions regarding this situation feel free to ask me at any time.  

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QUESTION: Thank you so much for your answer and sorry for the delay in thanking you but for some reason your e-mail went to the junk section which I don't normally look at. Anyway I do appreciate your time. Just to clarify a little further: The two teeth in question (TWO root canalled teeth after all)are the second from the back at the top (one on each side).The dentist said that one tooth has around 40% of tooth left and the other one about 30% left.

I would be really grateful for your opinion regarding whether or not to insert a post or should it just have a crown (does that include a core too?

Thank you very much


Hello again Polly,

You are very welcome and I'm happy to give you my thoughts. I believe the teeth to which you are referring are the upper first molars on each side, we number these teeth number 3 and number 14.  I do not want to be evasive and I'll give you my thinking based on what you've told me, it's really difficult to tell you without actually seeing the teeth and where they are broken down.  I usually think that an upper molar does not require a post and if a post is placed usually the core is included with it.  The core is simply a build up of the missing parts of the teeth to give the crown a base on which to be cemented.  My feeling is that these two teeth don't need a post and core but need a build up to give enough volume on which to actually make a good crown to hold everything together.  Please be aware that if there is not enough tooth volume left to hold this buildup then it's very possible the post is still necessary.  Without seeing them, my opinion is that they don't need a post. I really hope this helps you and that I've not confused you further.

Dr. Karmen


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Thomas Karmen


All general dentistry questions, especially those related to fixed prosthetics. Endodontics, Periodontics, and implants, minor oral surgery I can't answer much about othodontics nor advanced treatment of carcinoma nor deep tissue surgery nor osseous surgery such as jaw reduction or advancement.


DDS In general practice and consulting with having done some lecturing for local dental societies.

ADA and Florida Dental Association and Iowa Dental association

DDS degree

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