Getting A Root Canal? Why You May Need An Endodontic Post

If the living portion of your tooth—called the pulp—is infected, your dentist may recommend a root canal. Root canal therapy is beneficial since it can eliminate any tooth pain you may be experiencing and helps you avoid complications like abscesses. A root canal is also preferable to an extraction since only diseased tissue is removed and you'll be able to keep your tooth. During a root canal, your dentist may want to remove diseased tissue and place an endodontic post. Read on to learn more about endodontic posts and why you might need one.

What's an Endodontic Post?

After a dentist removes diseased tissue from a tooth, the tooth may be too unstable and need extra support. An endodontic post is placed within the cleared tooth root and provides extra reinforcement to the tooth. Endodontic posts can be made of metals, like titanium, or they can be made of composite materials.

Is It the Same as an Implant Post?

Some people may confuse an endodontic post with an implant post; however, they are different. An implant post is placed in areas of the jawline where teeth are missing, and it imitates a tooth root that will hold an abutment and false tooth. Endodontic posts are placed inside the tooth and root itself and are not used to replace missing teeth. While you only need one implant post to support a false tooth, a dentist may place multiple endodontic posts inside a tooth after a root canal.

Who Needs Them?

Endodontic posts aren't used for every root canal. Your dentist will use one depending on the quality and quantity of your current tooth structure. For example, if your dentist is able to create a small access hole to remove the infected pulp, and you have a lot of healthy enamel left, then you probably wouldn't need a post. However, if your enamel is chipped or decayed and needs to be removed or repaired along with the root canal, then a post may be necessary.

Another consideration that your dentist will look at is the remaining adjacent teeth. If you are getting a root canal in a tooth that's surrounded by healthy teeth, then you likely wouldn't need a post, since the chewing forces would be distributed among your teeth. However, if you have unhealthy adjacent teeth or are missing teeth next to the tooth that needs a root canal, you may need a post for additional support since that tooth may be taking the brunt of your chewing forces.

Lastly, do you plan on getting a restoration—like a bridge—on the tooth that needs a root canal? If so, your dentist may opt to place an endodontic post so that the tooth can support the restoration and act as an abutment tooth.

Reach out to your dentist to learn more about root canal therapy.