I have a left incisor that is severely decayed. My dentist recommends a crown instead of a filling, but he wants to add a post and core. The dentist’s office submitted it to my insurance in early March. My insurance will give some benefits for the crown but not the post and core, which costs $420. So now, I’ll be paying for the remaining cost of the crown and the post and core. I’ll have to charge the balance on my credit card, which I am not fond of doing. Are the post and core necessary? Thanks – Russell
Although your dentist is interested in your long-term oral health, your dental insurance company’s goal is to economize and save money. Your dentist might have explained the purpose of a post and core, but we’ll review it to help you understand your dentist’s perspective.
Why Are a Post and Core Needed?
A dentist might place a post and core after root canal treatment. If there isn’t a lot of healthy tooth structure left, your dentist can’t properly prepare the tooth, and the crown can come off easily. The following steps are involved:
- Perform root canal treatment and remove decay and tooth pulp
- Insert a post into the canal of the tooth
- Bond the post in place
- Use dental bonding and shape it around the post to mimic the shape of a natural tooth prepared for a crown
- Bond the crown to the built-up post
The post and core are essential for reinforcing the tooth and creating a firm bond for a dental crown that lasts.
What Might Happen without the Post and Core?
- If a dentist bonds a crown to your severely decayed tooth, the tooth can further weaken and break. If the break is severe—or if the tooth gets infected—you might lose the tooth.
- And your dentist will need to replace it with a dental implant and crown—which is more costly than a post and core. A single implant costs over $1500. And there are additional fees associated with implant placement, including surgery, sedation, the implant crown, and more.
- Your dentist is protecting your oral health and limiting your long-term out-of-pocket expenses by recommending the post and core. Listen to your dentist—not the dental insurance company.
This post is sponsored by Steven Brooksher, DDS, a Baton Rouge dentist and a fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.