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Post & Core of Broken teeth

What is a Core?

Teeth sometimes have large portions missing due to decay, fracture, the loss of a filling or the creation of an access cavity (the hole through which root canal work is performed). If so, a core may be needed.

Placing a core refers to the procedure where a dentist replaces the bulk of a tooth's missing structure, typically in preparation for making a dental crown for the tooth. Doing so creates the optimal shape and foundation for the new restoration.

What Material are used?

A core can be made out of any type of permanent dental restorative. In most cases it's either:

  • Dental amalgam (the metal used to make "silver" fillings) or else.
  • Dental composite (the dental bonding used to make "white" fillings).

Why Core is Needed?

A great deal of a crown's stability depends on the amount of tooth structure that extends into its interior. If very little tooth structure fills this space, the crown will be easily dislodged, especially by lateral forces (those directed from the side).

How a core solves this problem?

By "building up" a tooth first with a core (rebuilding it so it is closer to its original dimensions), the dentist can greatly increase the stability of the crown. Since after doing so the dentist has the optimal amount of structure (tooth + core) to work with, they can optimize the degree to which it extends into the interior of the crown, thus optimizing its long-term chances for survival.

When specifically, is a core needed?

The need for this procedure is a judgment call made by the dentist. However, as a general rule of thumb, cores are typically placed in situations where one half or more of the tooth's clinical crown (the portion of the tooth that lies above the gum line) is compromised or missing.