Post buildup of a broken tooth is a dental procedure in which a cylindrical post is inserted into the tooth so that a crown can be put on to restore the missing parts of the tooth. I am going to demonstrate this procedure here with one of my recent cases, in which my patient came in with a broken tooth. I will show how I restore the tooth.
The patient had this broken tooth for number of years. The tooth had root canal therapy done but no permanent restoration, ie a crown, was put on for full coverage protection. As the result, the tooth just keeps on deteriorating and now the entire clinical crown above the gum line is broken off. Only the root portion of the tooth remains. This can seen by the pre-operative dental xray radiographs:
The xray image shows that only the root portion of the tooth remains. Typicall, a big filling or a crown can be used to restore the tooth. However, in this case, neither of these two options can be used alone to restore the tooth. There is no tooth structure above the gum line for filling materials to adhere onto. This situation necessitates the use of a cylindrical post which is to be inserted into the root as an anchor. I choose to use the prefabricated metal post for strength. I first have to create a post space within the root and then the metal post is inserted into the root. The post is cemented with permanent cement. Then I will create a core buildup around the post on the tooth. Core buildup is a dental procedure in which some filling materials are placed around the post onto the tooth to recreate the approximate shape of the crown portion of the tooth. This is how it looks like after the post insertion and the core buildup is done:
Notice that the metal post is inserted into the root canal area of the tooth. The metal post is located at the center of the root. The metal post is inserted into the tooth with sufficient amount of depth in order to have sufficient retention for the post to stay in the tooth. After the post and core are securely cemented onto the tooth, I would then prepare the tooth for the crown. I have taken the impression the same day. Then after the lab finished making the crown, I would tell the patient to return and I would cement the crown onto the tooth. This is how it looks like after crown is put on:
So from this post buildup procedure, we can see that the post gives new life to the broken tooth otherwise the tooth would have to be extracted. The patient tells me that the new tooth looks and feels like a natural tooth.
Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS
Practicing Family Dentist Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona.